US forces kill 13 Al-Shabab militants in airstrike in Somalia

US troops conduct a search operation near Mogadishu's Medina hospital in this file photo. (AFP)
Updated 27 December 2017
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US forces kill 13 Al-Shabab militants in airstrike in Somalia

NAIROBI: The US carried out a new airstrike on Christmas Eve against Al-Shabab militant group in southern Somalia that left 13 dead, the US military said in a statement released on Wednesday.
The statement from the US Africa Command said the strike was carried out on Sunday morning. A spokeswoman said it occurred about 50 km northwest of Kismayo and that no civilians were killed.
“In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, US forces conducted an airstrike against Al-Shabab militants on the morning of Dec. 24, 2017, in southern Somalia, killing 13 terrorists,” read the statement from the US Africa Command (AFRICOM).
The US has carried out 34 drone strikes in Somalia this year after the Trump administration expanded military efforts against Africa’s deadliest extremist group.
In recent weeks, the US stepped up its operations in Somalia, with frequent strikes against Al-Shabab and a separate self-proclaimed branch of Daesh in the Horn of Africa nation.
Three weeks ago the US said it had killed eight Al-Shabab militants, while an airstrike in November reportedly left more than 100 militants dead.
Al-Shabab was blamed for the October truck bombing in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, that killed 512 people. Only a few attacks since 9/11 have left a higher death toll.
The Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab has been fighting to overthrow successive internationally backed governments in Mogadishu since 2007 and frequently deploys car and truck bombs against military, government and civilian targets.
Al-Shabab lost its foothold in Mogadishu in 2011, but has continued its fight and still controls vast rural areas.


Former UK minister calls for second vote on Brexit to end stalemate

Updated 20 min 21 sec ago
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Former UK minister calls for second vote on Brexit to end stalemate

  • The amendments seek to limit the government's ability to set up the customs arrangements May has advocated, which would keep close ties to Europe
  • May has ruled out a rerun of the 2016 vote in which Britons voted 52-48 percent to leave the bloc

LONDON: A former senior British minister called on Monday for a second referendum to solve a parliamentary stalemate on Brexit, saying Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposals for new ties with the European Union were a fudge that satisfied no one.
Justine Greening, an ex-Education Secretary who quit the government in January, said May’s negotiating strategy would neither please those who wanted a clean break with the EU nor those who opposed Brexit altogether.
“We’ll be dragging Remain voters out of the EU for a deal that means still complying with many EU rules, but now with no say on shaping them,” Greening wrote in the Times newspaper.
“It’s not what they want, and on top of that when they hear that Leave voters are unhappy, they ask, ‘What’s the point?’. For Leavers, this deal simply does not deliver the proper break from the European Union that they wanted.”
May has ruled out a rerun of the 2016 vote in which Britons voted 52-48 percent to leave the bloc.
Her Brexit negotiating strategy, which aims for a close relationship with the EU after Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019, was only agreed with her cabinet earlier this month after two years of wrangling. Two senior ministers resigned in protest shortly afterwards.
May is now facing a possible rebellion from Brexit supporters in her Conservative Party who want her to ditch her plan when lawmakers vote on amendments to legislation on the government’s post-Brexit customs regime on Monday.
However, she has told unhappy lawmakers that they needed to back her or risk there being no Brexit at all.
Greening said that with divisions in the Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party over how to proceed with Brexit, there should be another vote, with the public able to choose between May’s plans, a “no-deal” break with the EU or remaining in the bloc.
“The only solution is to take the final Brexit decision out of the hands of deadlocked politicians, away from the backroom deals, and give it back to the people,” she said.