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Suicide Bomber Kill Dozens At Football Stadium In Iraq

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A suicide bomber has blown himself up at a football stadium south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, killing at least 30 people and injuring 95 others.  The blast in Iskandariya happened in the early evening on Friday at the end of an amateur football game, Falah al-Khafaji, the head of security for Babel province, said.  The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – which controls large areas of the country’s north and west – later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Mobile phone footage widely shared by Iraqis on social media showed players in football kits gathering to collect trophies and footballs as at least one child stood nearby. One man throws a new football to the crowd, before the camera shakes violently and the footage ends, at what witnesses said was the moment a bomber in the crowd detonated an explosives belt.

Several photographs posted to social media showed mangled goal posts smeared with blood. One image showed a close-up of a football, also covered with blood. “The suicide bomber cut through the crowd to approach the centre of the gathering and blew himself up as the mayor was presenting awards to the players,” Ali Nashmi, an 18-year-old eyewitness, told the AFP news agency.  The mayor, Ahmed Shaker, was among the dead. “I was maybe 50 metres from the spot. The blast was extremely loud,” Haidar Kadhem, a 20-year-old who survived the explosion, said.

“Most of the crowd were young people, I could see them strewn across the field, some dead, others wounded asking for help. It was just chaos.” An apparent escalation of large bombings in areas outside ISIL’s control suggests that Iraqi government forces may be stretched thin after recent gains against the group in the western and northern provinces. At least 60 people were killed earlier this monthin an attack claimed by the group 80km further south, in Hilla, when an explosives-laden fuel tanker slammed into a government checkpoint.

“Iskandariya is a Shia town,” Al Jazeera’s Jane Arraf, reporting from Baghdad, said.  “What ISIL is trying to do is to restart the sectarian war that boiled over in Iraq several years ago and they are doing that by attacking Shia targets – ordinary people or market places- in the hope that there will be retaliation.”

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JUST IN: ECOWAS Lifts Sanctions On Mali

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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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