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Suicide Bomber Kills Dozens in Afghan Shi’ite Mosque in Kabul

The Middle Eastern-based terrorist group in July this year struck a peaceful demonstration in Kabul in which more than 80 people were killed while many more were wounded

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Afghan security forces keep watch in front of a mosque where an explosion happened in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 21, 2016.VOA
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Islamabad, November 22, 2016: Authorities in Afghanistan say a suicide blast at a Shi’ite mosque in Kabul Monday killed at least 33 people and wounded scores more.

The bomber entered the crowded Baqir ul Olum Mosque during a ceremony and detonated the explosives strapped to his body among the worshipers.

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General Faridoon Obaidi, head of Kabul’s Criminal Investigation Department, told reporters the powerful explosion wounded more than 50 people. He added that the dead and wounded were all civilians.

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Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah condemned the attack, saying it targeted “innocent civilians – including children – in a holy place. It is a war crime and an act against Islam.”

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There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bloodshed.

A Taliban spokesman in a brief statement sent to reporters denied involved in the bombing, saying the Taliban had nothing to do with it.

Attacks on Shi’ite worship places in Afghanistan have lately been claimed by Islamic State.

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The Middle Eastern-based terrorist group in July this year struck a peaceful demonstration in Kabul in which more than 80 people, mostly members of the Shi’ite Hazara community, were killed while many more were wounded. (VOA)

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US Backtracks on Iraqi, Kurd Cease-fire Claim

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An Iraqi soldier removes a Kurdish flag from Altun Kupri
An Iraqi soldier removes a Kurdish flag from Altun Kupri on the outskirts of Irbil, Iraq. VOA

Iraq, October 27: The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State announced Friday morning a cease-fire between Iraqi forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga in Northern Iraq but quickly backtracked on the claim, saying it is not an “official” cease-fire.

Army spokesman Ryan Dillon posted a clarification on Twitter to say “both parties (are) talking with one another,” but that a “cease-fire” had not been reached.

The Iraqi military and the Kurdish minority have been clashing for several weeks after the Iraqi troops moved to secure areas in northern Iraq that had been seized from IS jihadists by Kurdish forces. The Kurdish forces abandoned the land largely without resistance, though low-level clashes have been reported.

Iraqi PM rejects Kurdish offer

The areas Iraqi forces are moving into were mostly under Baghdad’s control in 2014, when Islamic State militants swept into the region. Kurdish Peshmerga and coalition forces recaptured the lands, and the Kurdistan Region has since held them.

The Iraqi leadership said it is retaking the areas to establish federal authority after a Kurdish referendum for independence in September threatened the nation’s unity. More than 92 percent of Kurds in Iraq voted “yes” in a vote Baghdad called illegal, and the international community leaders said was dangerous and ill-timed.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Thursday rejected an offer by Kurdish leaders to freeze the results of their independence referendum in favor of dialogue in order to avoid further conflict.

The Kurdistan Regional Government, in a statement, said the confrontations have hurt both sides and could lead to ongoing bloodshed and social unrest in Iraq.

“Certainly, continued fighting does not lead any side to victory, but it will drive the country towards disarray and chaos, affecting all aspects of life,” the KRG said.

‘Unified Iraq is the only way to go’

Abadi said in a statement his government will accept only the annulment of the referendum and respect for the constitution.

During a briefing Friday morning at the Pentagon, Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie Jr. told reporters the U.S. believes “a unified Iraq is the only way to go forward.”

He added, “We’re not helping anyone attack anyone else inside Iraq, either the Kurds or the Iraqis.”(VOA)

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