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BREAKING: 176 killed as Ukrainian plane crashes in Iran

All 176 people on board a Ukrainian passenger plane were killed when it crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran on Wednesday, Iranian state media reported. State news agency IRNA said 167 passengers and nine crew members were on board the aircraft operated by Ukraine International Airlines. “Obviously it is impossible that passengers” on flight PS-752 are alive, the head of Red Crescent told semi-official news agency ISNA, putting the number of people on board at 170. The Boeing 737 had left Tehran’s international airport bound for Kiev, the agency said, adding that 10 ambulances were sent to the crash site.
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Breaking: Finally Iraq attacks U.S. Embassy

The United States Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, came under attack on Sunday as multiple rockets were launched at it. Daily Mail reports that the rockets fired at the Embassy hit an apartment complex instead, killing civilians.According to residents, three explosions rang out, heard inside the heavily-fortified Green Zone, home to the US Embassy and the seat of Iraq’s government.This is following growing tension between the United States and Iran over the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.Reports say that Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force, was killed by the United States forces. The top Iranian General was killed “at the direction” of Donald Trump, the United States President.Speaking on Soleimani’s death, a Pentagon statement said, “At the direction of the President, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani.”The statement added that General Soleimani approved the attacks on the embassy.“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. “The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world,” the statement added.
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‘The families of U.S. soldiers in the Middle East will spend their days waiting for death of their children’ – Daughter of slain Iranian general vows revenge

Zeinab Soleimani, the daughter of slain Iranian general Qassem Soleimani who was killed in a United States airstrike ordered by President Donald Trump last week has threatened an attack on the U.S. military in the Middle East.Zeinab sent out the threat while speaking to a crowd of hundreds of thousands in Tehran.‘The families of U.S. soldiers in the Middle East will spend their days waiting for death of their children,’ she said to cheers.Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who replaced Qassem Soleimani after his death also vowed to take revenge while speaking on Monday in an interview with Iranian state television.‘God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger. Certainly actions will be taken,’ he said. ‘We promise to continue down martyr Soleimani’s path as firmly as before with help of God, and in return for his martyrdom we aim to get rid of America from the region,’ Ghaani added.
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We Just Acquired $2trillion Military Equipment, If You Attack Any US Person Again, You Are Gone – US Warns Iran

President Donald Trump has continued to caution Iran against retaliating the killing of its top military leader by United States forces. In Donald Trump’s message available to Native Reporters, US President said,;These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress that should Iran strike any U.S. person or target, the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner. Such legal notice is not required, but is given nevertheless!The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way…and without hesitation!They attacked us, & we hit back. If they attack again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before!According to the U.S. president, Soleimani “was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him.”Soleimani was also blamed by the U.S. Defense Department for the deaths of hundreds of Americans and recent attacks on coalition bases in Iraq.The U.S asked its citizens in Iraq to leave the country immediately following Soleimani’s killing, while also asking its troops in the region to be on high alert.
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Al-Shabaab militants attack US-Kenya military base

Jihadists from Somalia’s Al-Shabaab group on Sunday attacked a military base used by US and Kenyan forces in Kenya’s coastal Lamu region, a government official said. “There was an attack but they have been repulsed,” Lamu Commissioner Irungu Macharia told AFP. He said the attack took place before dawn at the base known as Camp Simba, and that “a security operation is ongoing”, without saying if there had been casualties. “We are not sure if there are still remnants within,” he said. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, saying they had “successfully stormed the heavily fortified military base and have now taken effective control of part of the base.” The group said there had been both Kenyan and American casualties, however this could not be immediately verified. Al-Shabaab said the attack was part of its “Al-Quds (Jerusalem) shall never be Judaized” campaign — a term it first used during an attack on the upscale Dusit hotel complex in Nairobi in January last year that left 21 people dead. The Somali jihadists have staged several large-scale attacks inside Kenya, in retaliation for Nairobi sending troops into Somalia in 2011 to fight the group, as well as to target foreign interests. Despite years of costly efforts to fight Al-Shabaab, the group on December 28 managed to detonate a vehicle packed with explosives in Mogadishu, killing 81 people. The spate of attacks highlight the group’s resilience and capacity to inflict mass casualties at home and in the region, despite losing control of major urban areas in Somalia.
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Boko Haram Kidnaps CAN Chairman In Adamawa

Boko Haram insurgents have reportedly abducted The Rev Lawan Andimi, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika in Adamawa State following an attack on Thursday. The district head of Michika, Ngida Kwache, made the disclosure while receiving the state deputy governor, Crowther Seth who visited the area on Saturday.“The pastor was abducted the day Boko Haram attacked our community. He was last seen when the suspected insurgents forced him into a Toyota Hilux. Since then, we have not heard from him or his abductors,” he said.In separate appeals, three district heads, Ngida Kwache, Bello Ijeidi and Lawan Luka, representing Michika, Gulak and Koppa respectively, called for more troops in the communities located around Sambisa forest. The deputy governor reassured the affected communities that the administration of Governor Ahmadu Fintiri had stepped up efforts to ensure peace in the state, saying their requests would be forwarded to the Federal Government for appropriate action.
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President Trump Reacts To The Attack on US Embassy

Following the attack on the US Embassy shortly after the death of Gen Soleiman, President Donald Trump reacts to the act as he takes it to his Twitter handle.

His tweet:

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Iran identifies 35 targets for retaliatory attacks after General Soleimani’s death and the revenge strikes are expected ‘within weeks’

The Iranian government has identified at least 35 U.S. targets for retaliatory strikes after the country’s president Hasan Rouhani vowed to avenge the death of its Revolutionary Guards commander, Qasem Soleiman, who was killed in a United States airstrike ordered by President Donald Trump.

The latest threat was confirmed by General Gholamali Abuhamzeh, the commander of the Guards in the southern province of Kerman.

Targets include ships in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and Tel Aviv. Abuhamzeh also added that vital American targets in the region had been identified a ‘long time ago’.

‘The Strait of Hormuz is a vital point for the West and a large number of American destroyers and warships cross there … some 35 U.S. targets in the region, as well as Tel Aviv, are within our reach,’ he said, according to Reuters.

A retaliation attack from Iran could be seen ‘within weeks’ either at home or abroad, a senior congressional staffer told Time.

The staffer said: ‘There is no indication that there is going to be a de-escalation in the near future. The only question is how bad is the retaliation going to be and where and what is it going to hit.’

Abuhamzeh’s comments that Iran has previously identified targets, seem to confirm the State Department’s reason behind the airstrike on Friday, which killed Iranian general, his deputy Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis alongside others.

The State Department said: ‘General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.’

‘The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.’

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Iran names Esmail Qaani to replace general killed by US airstrike

Iran’s supreme leader named the deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards’ foreign operations arm Esmail Qaani to replace its commander Friday after he was killed in a US strike in Baghdad.

“Following the martyrdom of the glorious general haj Qasem Soleimani, I name Brigadier General Esmail Qaani as the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a statement posted on his official website.

Qaani was described by Khamenei as one of the “most decorated commanders” of the Guards during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

“The orders for the (Quds) force remain exactly as they were during the leadership of martyr Soleimani,” said the supreme leader.

“I call on the members of the force to be present and cooperate with General Qaani and wish him divine prosperity, acceptance and guidance,” he added.

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Islamic organisation demands release of 54 jailed soldiers as new year gift

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) wants the release of jailed 54 soldiers as new year gift from President Muhammadu Buhari

– The group calls the soldiers the real heroes because they made the world know about the poor weapons handed to them to tackle Boko Haram

– MURIC says if Sambo Dasuki, linked to an alleged $2.1 million arms fund could be released, same should be extended to the soldiers Following the release of Omoyele Sowore, convener of RevolutionNow from detention, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to also free 54 soldiers currently languishing in jail

Sowore was released on December 24, same day as Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser (NSA) to ex-president, Goodluck Jonathan.

In a statement made available to Legit.ng, MURIC said while it commends Buhari for releasing the duo, it wants the president to also extend the gesture to the 54 soldiers jailed for asking for better weapons to fight Boko Haram.

If it is true that Dasuki was detained over the $2.1 million arms fraud case (and it is), what becomes of the poor soldiers who exposed the fraud but who, paradoxically, are still languishing in jail? “Nigerians became aware of the poor weaponry among federal troops fighting Boko Haram when the 54 soldiers demanded better arms,” MURIC said while calling them the actual heroes.

The Islamic group argued that it was the soldiers’ protest that led to inquiries into what happened to the fund meant for the purchase of weapons.

The organisation noted that while the media fought for Sowore and Dasuki, that cannot be said of the plight currently being suffered by the soldiers. “We beg the president to show mercy to these young men

Finally, we laud President Buhari for setting Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and Omoyele Sowore free,” the statement said.

Thesun earlier reported that the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami, recently explained that the release Dasuki and Sowore from detention was due to the federal government’s compassion for the duo.

According to him, the reason for the release of Dasuki and Sowore owes also to the commitment to the rule of law, obedience to court ordere