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US Forces Kill Top ISIL leader In Somalia

The US military has carried out an operation in northern Somalia, resulting in the death of a top ISIL (ISIS) leader.

According to a statement released on Thursday by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Bilal al-Sudani, a US-designated ISIL leader in Somalia and “important facilitator for ISIS’s global network,” was killed in the operation.

The operation was approved earlier this week by President Joe Biden and will be carried out on January 25.

“Al-Sudani was responsible for fostering the growing presence of ISIS in Africa and for funding the group’s operations worldwide, including in Afghanistan,” Austin said.

There were no other details about the operation given, including how the US forces carried out the operation or even how many American soldiers were involved. US officials told Reuters news agency anonymously that 10 of al-Sudani’s associates were also killed in the operation.

The US Department of Treasury sanctioned al-Sudani in 2012 for his role in arranging funding for foreign fighters to travel to an al-Shabab training camp.

A Somali government offensive against al-Shabab, which began in August 2022 following Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s election, has also made substantial gains.

However, the organization, which has been seeking to destabilize Somalia’s government and enforce its strict version of Islamic law since 2007, has retaliated with a series of strikes around the country.

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Russia Agrees Deal To Station Nuclear Weapons In Belarus

Russia has struck a deal with neighbouring Belarus to station tactical nuclear weapons on its territory.

Vladimir Putin, head of the Kremlin (Russian government) made the announcement on Saturday as speculations about possible nuclear strikes in the country’s invasion of Ukraine grow.

Putin said the move would not violate nuclear non-proliferation agreements.

Belarus shares borders with Russia and Ukraine.

The country also has borders with three North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) members – Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.

Putin said his move to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus is not startling as the United States, a sympathiser with Ukraine, has stationed nuclear weapons in the territory of its European allies for decades.

The Russian president added that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko had looked forward to the Kremlin stationing tactical nuclear weapons in his country.

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Tornado Tears Through US State Of Mississippi, Kills 23

At least 23 people have died after a tornado tore through the US state of Mississippi on Friday night.

Dozens of residents have been injured while four persons are said to be missing.

The numbers are expected to rise as search efforts are underway to rescue people thought to be trapped under knocked-off buildings, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MSEMA).

The tornado caused devastation in several rural towns, yanking roofs off homes, nearly levelling some neighbourhoods and causing power outages.

Videos shared on social media showed piles of rubble, wrecked cars and search teams sifting through debris for survivors.

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In Latest Assessment, World Bank Says It Will Take 10 Years To Rebuild Ukraine

A new assessment by the World Bank says reconstruction and recovery efforts in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion will take 10 years.

The joint assessment released on Thursday by the World Bank, the Ukraine government, the European Commission, and the United Nations (UN), noted that the cost of rebuilding the country has grown to $411 billion.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

The report said the reconstruction cost estimate covers the one-year period from Russia’s invasion and combines both needs for public and private funds.

The cost includes an estimated $135 billion of direct damage – mainly to the housing, transportation, energy, commerce, and industry sectors.

The estimated cost of repair is more than double the country’s GDP in 2022

In June 2022, the World Bank said it would cost $349 billion to rebuild Ukraine.

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