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Blast kills three in embassy district of Kabul

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A suicide bomber on Tuesday detonated explosives inside Kabul’s diplomatic area close to the Ministry of Defense killing three in the Afghani capital.

At least 14 others were injured in the blast at the 14th St of Wazir Akbar Khan area, the Public Health Ministry’s spokesman Ismail Kawoosi told Al Jazeera news agency.

The explosion occurred outside the defense ministry building, but they were not the target and neither was the Australian embassy, despite initial reports.

This comes after a series of attacks carried out in Kabul, including one at a Shia mosque that killed some 70 individuals.

In May, 80 had died in a truck bomb explosion and hundreds were injured also in the diplomatic district.

There have been claims of responsibility at this time from any militant groups.


More details to follow.

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Middle East

Israeli settlements in West Bank no longer illegal, says U.S.

The shift created backlash.

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The United States on Monday shifted its longtime policy stance and stated that they no longer view Israeli settlements in the West Bank as inconsistent with international law, a move welcomed by the Israeli government but condemned by Palestinian leaders.

Settlements are communities established by Israel on land occupied during a war in 1967 over the Middle East and have for many years been part of the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians.

“After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate … the United States has concluded that the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called the U.S. decision was a risk to “global stability, security, and peace” and said it threatened to replace international law with “the law of the jungle”, according to the BBC.

U.S. President Donald Trump recognized the whole city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017 and moved the United States Embassy to the city later on.

Jerusalem’s many holy sites are significant to the major religions of Judaism, Islam and Christianity with the city being claimed by both the Jew-majority Israel and the Islam-majority Palestinian territories.  ■

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Middle East

Several dead in Afghan mosque bombing

Blast kills Afghan National Army soldiers.

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Eli Ridder | Report

Varying reports say between 10 and 25 people have been killed and several more injured after a blast struck inside a mosque on Friday in Afghanistan’s eastern Khost province.

The explosion appeared to target soldiers belonging to the 2nd regiment of the Afghan National Army as they held afternoon prayers inside a military base.

The blast happened around 1:30 p.m. local time, Captain Abdullah, a spokesman for the 2nd Regiment of Army in Mandozai district in Khost, told Tolo News.

More details to follow. Image of Afghan National Army from Wikimedia. ■

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Diplomatic, trade tensions flare between Canada, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia reacted to a statement by Canada on human rights issues.

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Eli Ridder | Report

The Canadian envoy to Saudi Arabia has been given 24 hours to leave the country, and the Saudi ambassador has been recalled, according to a Sunday report by the Saudi Press Agency, and froze all new trade and investment deals with Canada.

It comes after Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted her support for the sister of a jailed blogger who was arrested by Saudi authorities last week.

In a statement issued by the Saudi Arabian Foreign Ministry, Riyadh slams as “totally false” allegations by the Canadian authorities that recent arrests of several activists were unwarranted.

It says the arrests were made by “the competent authorities” and the detainees were provided with all the rights guaranteed during investigative and trail stages.

The ministry denounces Canada’s stance as “explicit interference in the internal affairs” of the kingdom that runs “contrary to the most basic international norms and charters that govern relations between countries, as well as “negative and surprising.”

Besides putting on hold “all new trade and investment transactions with Canada,” the ministry said that the ultra-conservative kingdom, that has drawn stark criticism from human righst group for its crackdown on dissent, “retains the right to take further action.”


 

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