Kabul suicide bombing kills five

Afghan policemen keep watch at the site of a suicide bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan April 12, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 12 April 2017
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Kabul suicide bombing kills five

KABUL: At least five people were killed Wednesday when a suicide bomber on foot struck near the Afghan defense ministry in Kabul, officials said, in an attack that was claimed by the Daesh group.
Three other people were left wounded in the explosion, which occurred during afternoon rush hour when employees of the ministry were likely to go home.
“Most of the people killed and wounded were civilians, but we don’t know the exact target,” interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish told AFP.
Daesh group claimed the attack through its propaganda agency Amaq. It said the bomber had targeted a checkpoint outside the Afghan presidential palace.
Daesh, notorious for their brutal reign of terror in Syria and Iraq, has made inroads into Afghanistan in recent years. They are known to be comprised of disaffected Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, as well as Uzbek Islamists.
But the group has been steadily losing territory in the face of heavy pressure from both US air strikes and a ground offensives led by Afghan forces.
Islamic State’s strength has now depleted to 600-700 fighters from 3,000 in early 2016, NATO has said, adding that it killed the top 12 Daesh commanders in Afghanistan last year.
The jihadists also claimed a deadly assault on Afghanistan’s largest military hospital last month, but survivors who spoke to AFP said the attackers chanted “Long live Taliban” in Pashto.
Afghanistan is also bracing for a fierce Taliban offensive in the spring after the failure of repeated government attempts to launch peace negotiations.


Thousands flee as flames race across dry rural California

Updated 25 June 2018
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Thousands flee as flames race across dry rural California

  • Wind-driven wildfires destroyed buildings and threatened hundreds of others as they raced across dry brush in rural Northern California
  • The Pawnee Fire, which broke out Saturday near the community of Clearlake Oaks, has destroyed 12 buildings and threatened an additional 600

CLEARLAKE OAKS, Calif: Wind-driven wildfires destroyed buildings and threatened hundreds of others as they raced across dry brush in rural Northern California.
The Pawnee Fire, which broke out Saturday near the community of Clearlake Oaks, has destroyed 12 buildings and threatened an additional 600. As of Sunday, there was no containment and it burned across about 12 square miles (31 sq. kilometers). Authorities ordered people to evacuate all homes in the Spring Valley area, where about 3,000 people live.
“What we’re stressing is that people, when they get the evacuation order, they heed it immediately and get out and stay out until it is safe to return,” state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Battalion Chief Jonathan Cox said. “This is one of four large fires burning in Northern California. It’s a good reminder that fire season is upon us.”
Erratic wind and heat gripping a swath of California from San Jose to the Oregon border drove the flames, which were north of the wine country region where devastating wildfires killed 44 people and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses last October.
Farther north, a fire spanning about three-quarters of a mile in Tehama County destroyed “multiple residential and commercial buildings,” Cal Fire said. But firefighters appeared to be making good progress — the Stoll Fire was halfway contained and some evacuees were allowed to return home, authorities said.
A second fire in Tehama County consumed 5.5 square miles (14 square kilometers), but no buildings were reported burned. The so-called Lane Fire threatened 200 structures and some homes had been evacuated, Cox said. It was 10 percent contained.
A fire in neighboring Shasta County grew to 1.6 square miles (4.14 sq. kilometers) and was 20 percent contained. The so-called Creek Fire had damaged no structures but did prompt evacuations.
The cause of each blaze was under investigation Sunday. No one was reported hurt.
More than 230 firefighters using helicopters, bulldozers and other equipment were battling the Pawnee Fire in a rugged area that made it difficult to get equipment up close.
“It’s kind of the worst possible combination,” Cox said.
Matthew Henderson, who was in the area taking photographs, said he saw the fire jump a road at one point, briefly cutting off access to part of Spring Valley until firefighters pushed it back.