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24 Hours Across Africa

Somalia: Air strike leaves dozen dead.

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Source: Reuters

An air strike near the Somali town of Afgoye killed four people, a relative of one of the victims said on Tuesday.

The United States frequently carries out such attacks that target Islamist militants in the Horn of Africa country. The attacks have helped bolster Somalia’s U.N.-backed central government against al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab insurgents.

Abdiqadir Nur and three others died at 1330 GMT while driving through Laanta Buuro village in the southwestern Lower Shabelle region, 45 km (28 miles) from the capital Mogadishu, relatives said.

“Nur and three others died on the spot. His brother Mahad Nur is totally burnt,” Nur’s cousin Abdullahi Ali said.

Ali said his cousin Nur was an employee of telecoms firm Hormuud Telecom, but the company said it had no employee of that name and that none of its staff were killed in an air strike.

In an email to Reuters, the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) said it carried out the air strike on Monday and that three militants had died in the attack.

“We are aware of reports alleging civilian casualties resulting from this air strike…The U.S. Africa Command will review any information it has about the incident, including any relevant information provided by third parties,” it said.

Al Shabaab was driven out of Mogadishu in 2011, but retains a strong presence in southern and central parts of Somalia.

Al Shabaab, which wants to impose strict Islamic law in Somalia, says relatives of jihadists killed in air strikes are often motivated to join its ranks.


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24 Hours Across Africa

Israel election: Netanyahu, Gantz battle too close

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Israel’s election was too close to call on Wednesday, with a partial vote tally showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied with his main rival, former military chief Benny Gantz.

An official result was still hours, perhaps days off. But with more than 63 percent of votes counted, theis  Netanyahu-led right-wing bloc was, as expected, more or less even with Gantz’s center-left.

With no single-party majority in the 120-seat Knesset, or parliament, there will likely be weeks of coalition talks before a new government is formed.

The ballot’s wildcard, former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, emerged as a likely kingmaker as head of the secular-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party.

Lieberman has been pushing for a unity government comprised of the biggest parties. He declined to back Netanyahu’s bid to form a narrow right-wing and religious coalition after an April election, bringing about Tuesday’s unprecedented repeat vote.

Addressing Likud party faithful, Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving premier, sipped water frequently and spoke hoarsely. He made no claim of victory or concession of defeat, saying he would await final results.

His dead-of-night appearance was a far cry from his triumphant – and in the end premature – declaration five months ago that he had won a close election.

Gantz was more upbeat, telling a rally of his Blue and White party that it appeared “we fulfilled our mission”, and he pledged to work toward forming of a unity government.

Reuters

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24 Hours Across Africa

Inflation rate falls to 1.7%

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 The office for National statistics says the consumer price index is 1.7%-down from 2.1% – in August

Head of inflation at ONS Mike Hardie said: “The inflation rate has fallen noticeably into August, to its lowest since late 2016. This was mainly driven by a decrease in computer game prices, plus clothing prices rising by less than year after the end of the summer sales.

“Annual growth in house prices slowed to its lowest rate since September 2012, with four of the nine English regions now seeing prices falling over the year”.

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