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26 militants ‘neutralised’ in French-Malian army operation

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Malian soldiers and members of a French military medical unit conduct an assistance operation during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki [File: Benoit Tessier/Reuters]

A military operation this week by Malian and French forces in war-torn central Mali eliminated 26 militants, the Sahel state’s army said on Tuesday.

Mali’s military command said in a statement that the operation took place early Monday in Alatona, near the border with Mauritania.

The operation targeted militants who had staged an ambush on Saturday, according to the statement, which did not provide details on that attack.

French and Malian troops launched a counter-attack after determining their location.

Soldiers “neutralised 26 terrorists” in the joint operation, according to Mali’s army, and also destroyed two pick-up trucks and captured “a large quantity” of arms.

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Mali has been struggling to contain a brutal jihadist insurgency which first emerged in the north in 2012, before spreading to the centre of the country and neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed in the conflict and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes.

Former colonial power France, which intervened in Mali in 2013 to beat back the jihadists, has 5,100 soldiers deployed across the semi-arid Sahel region.

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‘Israel has the right to self-defense’ — Psaki

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PHOTO: White House press secretary Jen Psaki

White House press secretary Jen Psaki has stated that “Israel has the right to self-defense” against Gaza-based Islamist terrorists who have rained down over 2,000 rockets on southern and central Israel since Monday.

She noted that Hamas is a terrorist group, but stressed that the US is focused on de-escalation.

“It’s important to remember that Hamas is a terrorist group. They don’t represent the views, the families and the Palestinian people who are suffering. There’s no excuse for the rockets,” Psaki told journalists.

Meanwhile, US Secretary for Israeli-Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr landed in Israel on Friday, as part of Washington’s efforts to defuse the most intense fight between Gaza-based Islamist terrorists and the Jewish state since 2014.

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Barka da Sallah to Muslim faithfuls who don’t behave like terrorists — Kanu

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Nnamdi Kanu, rights activist and leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB)

Rights activist, Nnamdi Kanu, has congratulated Muslims as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr – one of the holiest occasions on the Islamic calendar.

Kanu, in a message Thursday, noted that his message and best wishes are directed to “Muslim faithfuls who don’t think and behave like the terrorists” who he said are presiding over the government in Nigeria.

“May the peace & blessings of your God Allah be and abide with you always,” said the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

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Rocket attacks: Nigerian govt frowns, send message to Israel

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Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria’s federal government has expressed its displeasure with the rocket attacks between Israel and the Palestinian militant group in Gaza, Hamas.

In a statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ferdinand Nwonye, ​​Nigeria’s federal government called on both sides to defuse hostilities.

“The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to state that the Federal Government of Nigeria is watching with great concern the unfolding developments with Israel and the State of Palestine and urges both parties to see reason and de-escalate the hostilities,” said Nwonye.

“The Federal Government further urges the two parties to remain committed to the two-state solution and, in the meantime, guarantee the rights of all citizens to live in peace and dignity.”

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