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10 militants from ISIS-linked gang killed in Russia

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Moscow: Amid Russia’s intense military campaign against ISIS in Syria, as many as 10 militants from a gang that swore allegiance to the Islamic State have been killed after a firefight between Russian special forces and the terrorists near the city of Nalchik in Russia’s North Caucasus.

According to National Counter-Terrorist Committee, the counter-terrorist operation is currently underway in a mountainous region near Nalchik, Russia Today reported.

The operation began early Sunday morning in woodland adjacent to Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria Republic. A unit searching a territory near the city spotted a group of militants in a dug-out on Saturday.

The Russian military, over the last month, has conducted bombing missions in Syria and fired multiple cruise missiles at the IS stronghold of Raqqa, a Syrian city.

Russia has vowed to escalate its military campaign against IS in Syria after it confirmed the Metrojet airliner that crashed in the Sinai, killing 224 passengers, was brought down by a bomb.

Meanwhile, having vowed to escalate its military campaign against the ISIS, the Russian airmen have inscribed ‘That’s for Paris’ on the side of one of the bombs they plan to use against the terrorist organisation in Syria, a media report said.

A picture of the bomb was shared from the official Twitter account of the Russian Embassy in Britain, the Independent reported.

British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon previously criticised the strikes, saying they may have killed “several hundred” civilians.

Several coordinated gun and suicide bombing attacks on the French capital by Islamists killed 129 people on November 13.

 

(With inputs from agencies)

 

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The Aborted Mission To Relaunch In December: NASA

In August, a hole appeared in a Soyuz capsule docked to the ISS that caused a brief loss of air pressure and had to be patched.

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Russian Rocket
Astronaut Anne McClain, left, is seen during training at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston, Texas. VOA

The American astronaut who will hitch the first ride on a Russian rocket since last month’s aborted launch and dramatic emergency landing is confident that her scheduled trip in December on a rocket that she calls a “workhorse” will go smoothly.

Astronaut Anne McClain, along with a Russian cosmonaut and a Canadian astronaut, will man the Dec. 3 mission. It will be the Russian-made Soyuz-FG’s first crewed flight since Oct. 11, when U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and a Russian cosmonaut landed unharmed on the Kazakh desert steppe after the rocket bound for the International Space Station failed in mid-air two minutes after liftoff.

NASA, rocket
Specialists watch broadcasts from the Soyuz spacecraft showing astronaut David Saint-Jacques of Canada, Oleg Kononenko of Russia and astronaut Anne McClain of the U.S. attending the final qualification training for their upcoming space mission in Star City near Moscow, Russia. VOA

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has relied on Russian rockets to ferry astronauts to the space station since the United States retired its Space Shuttle program in 2011, though the agency has announced plans for test flights carrying two astronauts on commercial rockets made by Boeing and SpaceX next April.

“I do see the incident that happened on Oct. 11 with our launch abort not as a failure but as a success,” McClain told Reuters in a telephone interview from Russia. “It actually bolsters my confidence in the rocket and in the processes that we have.

“We’re confident in the vehicle and getting back to it,” McClain said of the Soyuz rocket, which she called “the workhorse of the space program.”

After lifting off from Kazakhstan’s Soviet-era cosmodrome of Baikonur last month, a damaged sensor caused one of the rocket’s three booster stages to separate improperly, falling inward on the rocket and jolting it off its ascent two miles above ground, Russian investigators announced earlier this month.

Russian Rocket
The Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft carrying the crew of astronaut Nick Hague of the U.S. and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Russia blasts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. VOA

During Assembly

Video from inside the capsule showed the two men being shaken around at the moment the failure occurred, their arms and legs flailing. Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin can be heard saying, “That was a quick flight.”

The accident was the first serious launch problem experienced by a crewed Soyuz space mission since 1983, when a crew narrowly escaped before a launchpad explosion.

Also Read: NASA Grants $7 Mn For New Life Detection

In August, a hole appeared in a Soyuz capsule docked to the ISS that caused a brief loss of air pressure and had to be patched. Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, has said that it could have been made deliberately by someone during manufacturing or while the craft was in space.

McClain and two other crewmates will launch from the same launchpad in Baikonur, joining the space station’s current three-person crew. (VOA)