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  • Sudan and Ethiopia on alert for Egyptian military strike

    Sudan and Ethiopia on alert for Egyptian military strike

     

    Sudanese and Ethiopian forces operating on the border between the two countries are in place to prepare for any offensive that Egypt might launch against Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam on the River Nile, intelligence and security sources in Khartoum have revealed to MEMO.

    The two armies have been alerted that the Egyptian air force now has the capability to strike the dam at a distance of up to 1,500 kilometres, following the purchase of 24 Rafale fighter jets from France. The Ethiopians have deployed long-range missiles around the dam as a precautionary measure and Sudan’s forces have been placed on standby.

    The Renaissance Dam is being built to fulfil Ethiopia’s energy needs; it is on the Nile in the Benishagul Gumuz region. The project is opposed by Egypt, which believes that it will affect the flow of the great river and cause water shortages. The scheme is set to be the eighth largest dam in the world and has caused a major diplomatic row between the Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. After initial objections, Sudan supports the building of the reservoir behind the dam.

    Relations between Egypt and Ethiopia hit a low point in 2013 when Egyptian politicians inadvertently discussed sabotaging the dam in a live broadcast on state-owned television. A declaration of principles signed by the governments in Cairo, Khartoum and Addis Ababa has not helped to ease the tension. It is unclear whether the agreement will actually have any significant impact on the situation.

    Reports published last week by Sudanese newspapers quoted members of an Eritrean opposition group who suggested that Egypt has made a secret deal to open a new naval base on Nora Island in the Red Sea off the coast of Eritrea, Ethiopia’s northern neighbour. The move has angered Addis Ababa, even though Egyptian military sources have denied any such plan.

    (Middle East Monitor)

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  • Syria: US coalition admits killing 18 allied Kurdish fighters in 'misdirected' air strike

     

    Incident is the latest in a string of recent US-led strikes against Isis and al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq which have hit non-hostile targets 

     The mainly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are backed by the US in the fight to retake Raqqa from Isis

    A US-led coalition air strike has killed 18 of its allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) troops fighting against Isis in Syria, the US military has confirmed.

    Coalition aircraft were given the wrong coordinates in a "misdirected" strike on April 11, US Central Command said on Thursday, resulting in a strike on an SDF position and the deaths of 18 partnered fighters in the north of the country.

    The inaccurate coordinates reportedly came from the SDF itself.

    In the last month predominately Kurdish alliance of several fighting groups has managed to surround the Isis stronghold of Tabqa with both air and ground support from the US-led coalition.

    The town is strategically important and is the last bastion left to fall before the assault on Raqqa - Isis' de facto capital - begins proper.

    It is not yet clear which air force of the several nations which lend air power to defeating Isis was behind the strike.

    "The Coalition's deepest condolences go out to the members of the SDF and their families. The Coalition is in close contact with our SDF partners who have expressed a strong desire to remain focused on the fight against ISIS despite this tragic incident," a statement from Central Command said.

    "The Coalition is assessing the cause of the incident and will implement appropriate safeguards to prevent similar incidents in the future."

    In its own statement, the SDF described the incident as a "painful accident" which was the result of a "mistake."

    The alliance's general command is coordinating with the US-led coalition's investigation.

    The incident is the latest in several recent US-led strikes against Isis and al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq which have accidentally hit allied or civilian targets. 

    In the Iraqi city of Mosul last month, a US strike killed up to 200 civilians in a single bombing.  

    • More independent.co.uk

     

     

     

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  • Bashar al Assad: Syria chemical attack is '100 per cent fabrication'

     

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reiterated to AFP in an interview broadcast on Thursday April 13 that Syrian rebels and not the government were to blame for the casualties caused in the chemical incident of April 4 Screenshot via AFP

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has reiterated that his government had nothing to do with the chemical gas incident in a rebel-held village last week that killed more than 80 people.

    Allegations that his forces had deliberately poisoned civilians were ''100 per cent fabrication'', the president said on Thursday, adding that the Syrian government gave up its chemical weapons stocks as part of a 2013 agreement. 

    Mr Assad defended his position in comments broadcast by AFP, his first interview since the events of April 4.  

    The international community has condemned the deaths in Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province, which most Western intelligence believes was a deliberate attack carried out by the Syrian government. 

    Damascus and allies in Moscow have denied the regime attacked the village with chemical weapons, maintaining that the casualties were caused by gases released after an al-Qaeda-affiliated ammunitions depot was hit by conventional munitions in a legitimate government air raid.

    Neither country has provided any on-the-ground evidence to back up their claims. 

    The Syrian government agreed to surrender its chemical weapons stocks to an international watchdog after the deaths of hundreds in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus in 2013, although the opposition has long accused the regime of holding back some of its supply.

     

    On Wednesday, Russia's representative to the United Nations vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning the attack and recommending an immediate international investigation. 

    The draft text called on the Syrian government to provide flight plans, flight logs and other operational military information from the day of the strike.

    More to follow  independent.co.uk/

     

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  • Report: Trump Deporting 4K Somali Migrants

     

    An estimated 4,000 Somali migrants in the U.S. are expected to be deported by President Donald Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

    In an interview, Somalia’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ahmed Isse Awad said the number of Somalis ICE is looking to deport is at least 4,000, with the vast majority not being currently held in immigration detention centers.

    “We learned through immigration sources that the total number of the Somalis that are in the books of [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] to be removed are close to 4,000,” Awad told Voice of America.

    Over the course of the next few months, Awad said some 300 Somalis would be deported, saying he was waiting for information as to who those deportees would be.

    The numbers released by the ambassador show a steep departure from the days of lax immigration enforcement under the Bush and Obama Administrations.

    Awad said that during Obama’s last two years in office, only 170 Somalis were deported for either committing crimes or having their asylum requests rejected.

    The Trump Administration is expected to double that number in a few months.

    In a recent east coast operation, ICE arrested 82 criminal illegal immigrants, including two criminal aliens who were suspected of being MS-13 gang members, with ties to the El Salvadorian organization, Breitbart Texas reported.

     

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  • Donald Trump says North Korea 'looking for trouble'

     

    Donald Trump has said North Korea is "looking for trouble" — and suggested the US would offer China a better trade deal if it helped solve the ongoing crisis with Pyongyang.

    "I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the US will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!" Mr Trump tweeted.

    In another tweet, he said: "North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them!"

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