Coalition airstrike targets mosque used by Daesh

A Daesh flag is pictured above a destroyed house near the Clock Square in Raqqa, Syria, Oct. 18, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 21 October 2018
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Coalition airstrike targets mosque used by Daesh

  • The coalition said the use of the mosque as a headquarters by Daesh caused it to lose its protected status
  • The coalition says Daesh deliberately chose the mosque and repeatedly used it to plan and coordinate attacks

AL-UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar: The US-led coalition fighting the Daesh group says an airstrike on a mosque in Syria targeted an insurgent command and control center and killed a dozen fighters.
The coalition in a statement says that while the law of war protects mosques, the use of the building as a headquarters by Daesh caused it to lose that protected status.
Syrian state media and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said last week that strikes in Sousa near the Iraq border killed and wounded dozens, including civilians and Daesh fighters.
The coalition says Daesh deliberately chose the mosque and repeatedly used it to plan and coordinate attacks on US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. Sousa is in the last Daesh-held pocket in Syria where those forces have been fighting extremists for weeks.


Tunisian union calls new nationwide strike to press wage demands

Updated 19 January 2019
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Tunisian union calls new nationwide strike to press wage demands

  • Rail, bus and air traffic and all services stopped in Tunisia and street protests drew thousands on Thursday

TUNIS: Tunisia’s powerful UGTT union called on Saturday for another national strike for two days next month to press its demand for higher wages for 670,000 public servants, the UGTT chief said.

Rail, bus and air traffic and all services stopped in Tunisia and street protests drew thousands on Thursday in a one-day nationwide strike to challenge the government’s refusal to raise salaries.

“As negotiations with the government failed and the purchasing power has deteriorated significantly, UGTT decided to approve a nationwide strike on Feb. 20 and 21,” UGTT chief Nourredine Taboubi told reporters.

The decision will raise the pressure on the government, which is struggling to revive the faltering economy.

The government is also under pressure from the International Monetary Fund to freeze public sector wages, the bill for which doubled to about 16 billion dinars ($5.5 billion) in 2018 from 7.6 billion in 2010, as part of measures to reduce its budget deficit.

But the UGTT says the monthly average wage of about $250 is one of the lowest in the world, while the state Institute of Strategic Studies says real purchasing power has fallen by 40 percent since 2014.

The government had said it does not have the money to pay for the increases strikers want, worth about $850 million in total.

Government spokesman Iyad Dahmani said that increase would lift annual inflation to 10 percent from 7.4 percent.

An economic crisis has eroded living standards for Tunisians and unemployment is high as political turmoil and lack of reforms have deterred investment needed to create jobs. That has forced the government to launch austerity measures to please donors and lenders including the IMF.