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Trapped Civilians Stall Iraqi ISIL Offensive

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Tens of thousands of trapped Iraqi civilians have stalled an offensive to recapture a strategic town from ISIL with the military dropping pamphlets urging people to flee so a full assault can begin. Sabah al-Numan, a spokesman for Iraq’s elite counter-terrorism forces, said an operation was launched for the town of Heet – 140km west of Baghdad – on Thursday with heavy air strikes helping ground troops advance within 3km before being forced to stop.

Heet lies along an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant supply line linking its fighters in Iraq to those in Syria. Numan said the military made “a plan to evacuate these families” and leaflets were dropped over Heet indicating which roads can be used to flee.

The armed group has regularly used civilians as human shields – a tactic aimed at slowing the movement of Iraqi forces and complicating air strikes essential to ground operations.  The advance was not without resistance as eight Iraqi soldiers were killed on Thursday after an ISIL suicide car bomber detonated near an army convoy.   – backed by army troops and US-led coalition air strikes – moved on the town in western Anbar province that has been for months under the control of ISIL, also known as ISIS.

Retaking Heet – strategically located on the Euphrates River near the Ain al-Asad airbase, where several hundred US forces are training Iraqi troops – would push ISIL further west towards the Syrian border, cutting a connection to the northern town of Samarra while leaving Fallujah as the group’s only stronghold near the capital, Baghdad. Iraq has had success in pushing back ISIL fighters in recent months, and has pledged to retake the northern city of Mosul later this year, but progress has often been fitful.

Aljazeera.

 

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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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