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Friday, Apr 28th

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Afghanistan: 36 Islamic State fighters killed by large blast

MOAB blast killed 36The attack on a tunnel complex in remote eastern Afghanistan with the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat by the U.S. military left 36 Islamic State militants dead and no civilian casualties, Afghanistan officials said Friday.

The attack was carried out in a remote mountainous area of Nangarhar province near the Pakistan border where there had been heavy fighting in recent weeks between Afghan forces and IS militants. The Ministry of Defense said in a statement that several IS caves and ammunition caches were destroyed by the giant bomb, which terrified villagers on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border with its "earsplitting blast."

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U.S. uses 'mother of all bombs' for first time in Afghanistan

Mother of all bombs dropped in AfghanistanThe United States dropped a massive GBU-43 bomb, the largest non-nuclear bomb it has ever used in combat, in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday against a series of caves used by Islamic State militants, the military said.

It was the first time the United States has used this size of bomb in a conflict. It was dropped from a MC-130 aircraft in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, close to the border with Pakistan, Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said.

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US coalition mistakenly kills 18 allied Syrian rebels

Friendly fire kills 18 Syrian alliesAt least 18 members of the American-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were killed in a US-led coalition air strike that mistakenly targeted them in Syria's Raqqa province.

In a statement released on Thursday, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said 18 SDF fighters died in the air raid south of the city of Tabqa on April 11. The attack was believed to be hitting members of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).

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U.S. Launches Missiles at Syrian Base After Chemical Weapons Attack

US launches cruise missiles at air base in SyriaThe United States launched dozens of cruise missiles Thursday night at a Syrian airfield in response to what it believes was the Syrian government's use of banned chemical weapons blamed for having killed at least 100 people on Tuesday, U.S. military officials told NBC News.

The U.S. military fired at least 50 Tomahawk missiles intended for a single target — Ash Sha'irat in Homs province in western Syria, the officials said.

That's the airfierld from which the United States believes the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fired the banned weapons.

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US coalition investigating reports of deadly Mosul airstrike

Mosul air strike being investigatedThe U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group is investigating reports of an airstrike in a western neighborhood in the Iraqi city of Mosul that allegedly left more than 100 civilians dead, according to a statement given to The Associated Press on Friday.

The suspected high toll underscores the difficulties that Iraqi troops face in the weeks-long fight to route the Sunni militant group from the densely urban part of the city, Iraq's second-largest.

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2016 Was Worst Year Yet For Children Caught In Syria's War, UNICEF Says

Syria's children deaths in 2016Violence in Syria took a horrible toll on the country's children last year, the United Nations' children's agency says, with the civil war blamed for killing at least 652 children — 255 of whom were either in or near a school.

In another unsettling trend, 851 children were recruited and used in the conflict in 2016 — double the figure who were recruited in 2015, UNICEF says. The agency says that children's deaths rose 20 percent and injuries rose by 25 percent.

The agency's report, released Monday, is titled "Hitting Rock Bottom."

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‘Blackwater Air’ Is Back, and Flying for U.S. Special Forces

Blackwater is backA mercenary air force that became a symbol of the U.S. occupation of Iraq is back in action—this time in Central Africa, supporting a shadowy American U.S. Special Forces commando operation targeting the Lord’s Resistance Army.

In late January, a source on the ground in Central African Republic spotted a Sikorsky S-61 helicopter with the registry number N408RC carrying American Special Forces troops. The LRA, a cultish band of thieves and rapists led by warlord Joseph Kony, is most active in the forested region where Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo meet.

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