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Deadly Blasts Hit Iraqi Religious Gathering

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At least eight people were killed and dozens wounded, when two near-simultaneous bombings targeting a Shia religious procession tent south of the Iraqi capital, officials say.

Thursday’s violence near Baghdad came during the peak of Ashoura commemoration rituals that mark the death of a key figure in Shia Islam, when Sunni Muslim armed groups typically step up attacks on Iraq’s majority community, whom they regard as apostates.

The attacks struck in the town of Hafriyah, in Wasit province, south of Baghdad, on Thursday.

Worshippers were gathering inside a tent where Shias were performing rituals to commemorate the death of Imam al-Hussein.

Al-Hussein, a grandson of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, was killed by the armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD and his death in Karbala has come to symbolise the split between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

Security measures have been stepped up in Iraq, with more than 35,000 soldiers and policemen currently deployed to Karbala, about 100km south of Baghdad, and surrounding areas, with security perimeters barring vehicles from entering the city while helicopters hover overhead.

Regional authorities expect two million pilgrims, including 200,000 from outside Iraq, will have visited the city of Karbala in the 10 days leading up to Ashoura, with all of the city’s hotels fully booked.

On Wednesday, a car bomb targeted a Shia man distributing food in the northern city of Kirkuk, leaving eight wounded.

The violence against Shias is the latest in Iraq’s worst unrest since 2008 and forced Nouri al-Maliki, Iraqi prime minister, to appeal to the US for help in the form of intelligence sharing and the delivery of new weapons systems in an effort to deal with the unrest.

Millions of Shias from Iraq and around the world mark Ashoura, which this year climaxes on Thursday, by setting up procession tents where food is distributed to passers-by and where pilgrims can gather.

Shias make up about 15 percent of Muslims worldwide. They are a majority in Iraq, Iran and Bahrain, and there are large Shia communities in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and Syria.

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JUST IN: ECOWAS Lifts Sanctions On Mali

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ECOWAS countries
ECOWAS Countries

ECOWAS Countries

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US President, Donald Trump, Wife Test Positive For Covid-19

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Donald Trump and Melania
Donald Trump and Melania

Donald Trump and wife, Melania Trump

President of the United States, Donald Trump, and his wife, Melania Trump have both tested positive for COVID-19.

The President took to his official Twitter handle on Friday to make this announcement.

Trump was last seen in public on Thursday afternoon, returning to the White House after a fundraising trip to New Jersey.

Also Read: What I Told Trump When He Accused Me Of Killing Christians – Buhari

On Thursday, he announced that his aide, Hope Hicks tested positive for the virus which has killed over 1 million people around the world.

He further revealed that he and the first lady had taken the test and waiting for the results before announcing the outcome on Friday.

 

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Mali: N’Daw, Coup Leader Goita Sworn In As President, VP

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President of Mali, N'Daw, coup leader, Goita
President of Mali, N'Daw, coup leader, Goita

President of Mali, N’Daw, coup leader, Goita

Retired Army Colonel, Bah N’Daw has been sworn in on Friday as the interim president of Mali and he is to head a transitional government following last month’s military coup in the country.

The swearing-in ceremony held in the country’s capital city of Bamako, where Colonel Assimi Goita, who led the military junta, was also sworn in as interim vice president.

This administration is to lead the government for a maximum of 18 months before organising national elections.

Also Read: Buhari Attends Virtual ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit Over Mali Crisis

It will be recalled that the country’s military executed a coup last month (August 18) which successfully removed the nation’s president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita from office.

Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, attended the ceremony alongside other members of the ECOWAS mediation team.

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