Somalia says 5 soldiers killed in battle with jihadists

Police officers stand near the bodies of alleged Al-Shabab militants who have been killed after the siege at the Mogadishu Municipality Headquarters in Mogadishu on January 22, 2023. (AFP)
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Updated 09 June 2024
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Somalia says 5 soldiers killed in battle with jihadists

  • Government says close to 50 fighters from the Islamist militant group were killed
  • The resurgent Al-Shabab claims it had taken multiple locations in the center of the country

MOGADISHU: Somalia’s government said five of its soldiers died in a battle in which they killed nearly 50 fighters from the Islamist militant group Al-Shabab Saturday, about 350 kilometers (215 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu.

Government troops and supporting militia forces got word of an attack planned by Al-Shabab in Ceeldheer, in the Galgadud region, set an ambush and “destroyed” them, said a statement.
Their forces killed at least 47 members of the militant group while losing five soldiers in the battle, said the authorities. They said airstrikes were also carried out against the Al-Shabab forces.
Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack on Ceeldheer.
Local resident Mohamed Hussein told AFP by telephone: “There was heavy fighting in Ceeldheer town this morning after Al-Shabab attacked the town from several directions.
“It was very hard to say who is in control a while ago but now we can see that the Somali government forces are in full control,” he added.
Another local man, Hassan Gutale, said: “There were at least six heavy explosions and fighting that lasted several hours.”
Elected in May, 2022, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud vowed to wage “total war” against the Islamist group.
Al-Shabab has been waging a deadly insurgency against the fragile central government in Mogadishu for more than 16 years.
Although driven out of the capital by an African Union force in 2011, they still have a strong presence in rural Somalia.
They have carried out repeated attacks against political, security and civilian targets, mostly in Somalia but also in neighboring countries including Kenya.
Somalia’s beleaguered federal government has joined forces with local clan militia against the Islamists, retaking swathes of territory in central Somalia in an operation backed by an AU mission known as ATMIS and US air strikes.
But the offensive has suffered setbacks, with Al-Shabab earlier this year claiming it had taken multiple locations in the center of the country.
 


Pakistan arrests Al-Qaeda leader, files case over plans to sabotage government installations

Updated 7 min 7 sec ago
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Pakistan arrests Al-Qaeda leader, files case over plans to sabotage government installations

  • Amin ul Haq is considered a close associate of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks
  • Counter-Terrorism Department has accused Haq of planning to sabotage important installations in Punjab

LAHORE: Pakistani counter-terror officials have arrested an Al-Qaeda leader, Amin ul Haq, describing him as a close associate of the dead Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in the most populous province of Punjab said it had registered a legal case against ul Haq, accusing him of having planned sabotage targeting important installations in the province.

“In a significant breakthrough in the fight against terrorism, CTD, in collaboration with intelligence agencies, successfully apprehended Amin ul Haq, a senior leader of Al-Qaeda,” the department’s spokesperson added in a statement.

Bin Laden was killed in 2011 during a US raid on his hideout in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.


Microsoft users worldwide report widespread outages affecting banks, airlines and broadcasters

Updated 4 min 33 sec ago
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Microsoft users worldwide report widespread outages affecting banks, airlines and broadcasters

  • ‘Large-scale technical outage’ caused by an issue with a ‘third-party software platform’
  • Airport operator Aena also reported a computer systems ‘incident’ at all Spanish airports

WELLINGTON: Microsoft users worldwide, including banks and airlines, reported widespread outages on Friday, hours after the technology company said it was gradually fixing an issue affecting access to Microsoft 365 apps and services.

The cause, exact nature and scale of the outage was unclear. Microsoft appeared to suggest in its X posts that the situation was improving but escalating outages were still being reported around the world hours later.

The website DownDectector, which tracks user-reported Internet outages, recorded growing outages in services at Visa, ADT security and Amazon, and airlines including American Airlines and Delta.

Microsoft 365 posted on X that the company was “working on rerouting the impacted traffic to alternate systems to alleviate impact in a more expedient fashion” and that they were “observing a positive trend in service availability.”

The company did not respond to a request for comment. It did not explain the cause of the outage further.

Australian outages reported on the site included the banks NAB, Commonwealth and Bendigo, and the airlines Virgin Australia and Qantas, as well as Internet and phone providers such as Telstra.

News outlets in Australia — including the ABC and Sky News — were unable to broadcast on their TV and radio channels, and reported sudden shutdowns of Windows-based computers.

An X user posted a screenshot of an alert from the company Crowdstrike that said the company was aware of “reports of crashes on Windows hosts” related to its Falcon Sensor platform. The alert was posted on a password-protected Crowdstrike site and could not be verified. Crowdstrike did not respond to a request for comment.

Passengers at Britain’s Edinburgh Airport were unable to use automated boarding pass scanners on Friday, and monitors at security displayed a message saying “server offline”, a Reuters witness reported.

A global tech outage was affecting operations internationally in multiple industries on Friday, including in banking, travel and broadcasting in Spain, Turkey and Australia.

Edinburgh Airport was checking boarding passes manually, the witness said.

A health booking system used by doctors in England was also offline, medical officials said on X on Friday.

Spanish airport operator Aena on Friday also reported a computer systems “incident” at all Spanish airports which may cause flight delays.

“We are working to solve it as soon as possible. Meanwhile, operations are continuing with manual systems,” the airport operator said in a post on X platform.

In Berlin, airport authorities have halted all flights until 10 a.m. (0800 GMT) due to a technical fault, a spokesperson said.

Earlier on Friday, airport operator BER said in a post on social media platform X that check-ins were delayed due to the error.

The spokesperson did not give details about the nature of the problem, which comes amid reports of technical outages affecting some companies around the globe.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, one of Europe’s busiest hubs, is being affected by a global cyber outage, a spokesperson said on Friday.

“The outage has an impact on flights flying from and to Schiphol,” he said, adding that it was not yet clear how many flights were affected.

A large-scale outage wrought havoc on IT systems across Australia on Friday, with the country’s national broadcaster, its largest international airport, and a major telecommunications company reporting issues.

Australia’s National Cyber Security Coordinator said the “large-scale technical outage” was caused by an issue with a “third-party software platform.”

National broadcaster ABC said its systems had been crippled by a “major” glitch.

Photos posted online showed large queues forming at Sydney Airport, which said some airline operations and terminal services had been affected.

Some self-checkout terminals at one of the country’s largest supermarket chains displayed error messages.

Telecommunications firm Telstra also said some of its systems had been disrupted.


Oil Updates – prices set for second straight weekly decline

Updated 37 min 31 sec ago
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Oil Updates – prices set for second straight weekly decline

NEW YORK: Oil prices fell on Friday, putting them on track for a second weekly decline, as a strong dollar and mixed economic signals weighed on investor sentiment, according tot Reuters.

Brent crude prices fell by 38 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $84.73 a barrel by 2:35 a.m. Saudi time. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 50 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $82.32 a barrel.

On a weekly basis, Brent crude was down 0.3 percent while WTI was trading marginally higher after slipping as much as 0.2 percent on Friday.

The US dollar index climbed for the second consecutive session after stronger-than-expected data on the US labor market and manufacturing earlier in the week. A stronger greenback dampens demand for dollar-denominated oil from investors holding other currencies.

Meanwhile, a lack of concrete stimulus measures from top oil importer China has weighed on commodities, ANZ analysts said in a note.

China’s economy grew at a slower-than-expected 4.7 percent pace in the second quarter, official data showed, sparking concerns about the country’s oil demand.

“Concerns over supply in the short term kept the losses minimal,” ANZ said, referring to worsening wildfires threatening production in Canadian oil sands.

Elsewhere on the economic front, Japan’s core inflation perked up in June, leaving the door open for an interest rate hike in the major oil market.

Oil prices found some support in the prior two sessions after the US government reported a bigger-than-expected weekly decline in oil stockpiles.

However, analysts at consultancy firm FGE said broader inventory trends look more bearish than expected this month. They noted that crude stocks have drawn at a slower than usual pace for this time of the year and global fuel stocks rose last week.

Meanwhile the OPEC+ producer group is unlikely to recommend changing the group’s output policy, including a plan to start unwinding one layer of oil output cuts from October, three sources told Reuters on Thursday.


Saudi border authorities thwart multiple drug-smuggling operations

Updated 46 min 23 sec ago
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Saudi border authorities thwart multiple drug-smuggling operations

  • Officers in the Al-Raboah and Al-Farsha areas of Asir seized more than 137000 tablets

RIYADH: The Kingdom’s Border Guard has thwarted several attempts by criminals to smuggle drugs into the country, the Saudi Press Agency reported late Thursday.

Officers in the Al-Raboah and Al-Farsha areas of Asir seized 125,500 and 11,893 narcotic pills, respectively.

In Asir’s Dhahran Al-Janub area, three Ethiopian nationals were arrested for attempting to smuggle 27 kg of hashish into the country.

The authorities have urged citizens and residents to report any information related to drug smuggling or selling by calling 911 in Makkah, Riyadh and the Eastern Province, and 999 in other regions of the Kingdom.

They can also call the General Directorate of Narcotics Control at 995 or contact via email at [email protected]. All reports will be treated with strict confidentiality.

 


Oil tankers on fire off Singapore, crew members rescued

Updated 59 min 44 sec ago
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Oil tankers on fire off Singapore, crew members rescued

  • Singapore is Asia’s biggest oil trading hub and the world’s largest bunkering port

SINGAPORE: Two large oil tankers were on fire in waters near Singapore, the authorities said on Friday, raising concerns about the environment as well as the impact on operations at the world’s biggest refueling port.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said it was alerted to a fire on Friday at 6:15 a.m. (2215 GMT) onboard both a Singapore-flagged tanker, Hafnia Nile, and a Sao Tome and Principe-flagged tanker, Ceres I.
A helicopter had evacuated two crew members to Singapore General Hospital, it said, without elaborating.
In a statement on social media, Singapore Navy said the frigate RSS Supreme had rescued the crews from the vessels and was providing medical assistance. It did not immediately give details.
The vessels were about 55km (34 miles) northeast of the Singaporean island of Pedra Branca on the eastern approach to the Singapore Straits. Photographs released by the Navy showed thick black smoke billowing from one tanker.
The cause of the fires was not immediately clear.
The 74,000 deadweight-tons capacity Panamax tanker Hafnia Nile (IMO 9766217) was carrying about 300,000 barrels of naphtha, according to ship-tracking data from Kpler and LSEG.
It was not immediately clear what fuel Ceres I (IMO 9229439) was carrying. The tanker is a very-large-crude-carrier (VLCC) of 300,000 deadweight-tons capacity and was last marked as carrying Iranian crude between March to April, ship-tracking data showed.
Singapore is Asia’s biggest oil trading hub and the world’s largest bunkering port and surrounding waters are vital trade waterways between Asia and Europe and the Middle East.