The death toll from coordinated attacks by Islamic State fighters on a usually peaceful southern city and surrounding countryside has climbed to 216, a local health official said Thursday, in the worst violence to hit the area since the country’s conflict began.
Prime minister Abiy Ahmed was whisked away from the event attended by thousands in Addis Ababa.
He was whisked away immediately after the blast, thought to be from a grenade thrown amid thousands of people in Addis Ababa’s Meskel Square.
His Chief-of-Staff Fitsum Arega said 83 people had been injured, six critically.
Mr Abiy only became prime minister after his predecessor Hailemariam Desalegn unexpectedly resigned in February.
U.S. and allied warplanes destroyed an Islamic State sleeper cell near the terror group’s former stronghold of Mosul Tuesday, ending with roughly 12 jihadists dead, military officials in Baghdad say.
The strikes targeted a segment of underground bunkers and tunnels used by Islamic State, or ISIS, fighters to defend the northern Iraqi city against Iraqi troops, backed by U.S. and coalition airpower, during last year’s offensive to retake Mosul.
The recent airstrikes come amid questions whether the White House and the Pentagon will maintain its military presence in Iraq to support Baghdad’s efforts to stamp out remaining ISIS cells, or withdraw U.S. troops from the country. The Trump administration has already indicated its desire to scale back American military forces battling the Islamic State in Syria.
As the war against the Islamic State terror group winds down in Iraq and Syria, the U.S. military is increasingly turning its attention to Afghanistan.
As of early May, ISIS holds only two small pockets of territory in eastern Syria, and none in Iraq.
U.S.-backed fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have since returned to eastern Syria following Turkey’s incursion into northwest Syria, drawing Kurdish fighters from the fight against ISIS. The SDF recently announced it is once again fully committed to defeating ISIS.
Air Force A-10 jets and drones were recently called to thwart a battle against the Taliban in western Afghanistan, when the city of Farah was threatened.
Ahmed al-Darbi is the first prisoner to leave the U.S. base in Cuba since President Donald Trump took office. The last announced detainee transfer from Guantanamo was over a year ago, in Jan. 19, the day before Mr. Trump was inaugurated.
Al-Darbi is returning to Saudi Arabia as part of plea deal.
It is one of several militant groups active in Libya, which has been in constant turmoil since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in 2011.
After his 42-year rule, the country was split between myriad rival armed groups, loyal to one of three governments.
Although many observers have questioned whether an election can be secured in the politically and militarily divided country, the international community appears hopeful that it would give the troubled North African state a fresh start.
In Kabul, the first explosion occurred when a suicide bomber riding a motorbike detonated outside the headquarters of Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security. When reporters rushed to the scene to cover that explosion, a second suicide bomber on foot struck, suggesting that journalists may have been among the intended targets.