World Bulletin / News Desk
Islamist fighters declared on Thursday they had secured full control of Mali's desert north, a day after pushing their former Tuareg MNLA separatist allies out of the town of Gao in a gun battle that killed at least 20 people.
The local Ansar Dine group had already gained the upper hand in the northern town of Kidal and the ancient trading post of Timbuktu after government forces were routed in an April rebel advance.
"Our men control all three of the towns in northern Mali," Oumar Ould Hamaha, a Timbuktu-based Ansar Dine official said of the mostly desert territory which is larger than France.
"They (the MNLA) all ran away, we decided not to pursue them. ... All I can tell you is that they are not even in the outskirts the city," Hamaha said of the battle in Gao.
The separatist National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad - the northern territory it claims as an independent state - said its forces beat a tactical retreat in Gao on Wednesday and rejected suggestions they had lost the battle.
"Right now some MNLA units, stationed at the borders of Azawad, are coming back to completely rid the city of Gao of Islamist groups that are terrorising the population," MNLA spokesman Mossa Ag Attaher said in a written statement.
The battle was a culmination of weeks of tension between the MNLA and local Islamists who had helped it take control of northern Mali after government forces were left without a command following a March 22 coup.
The two factions had an uneasy power sharing arrangement after seizing control of the territory.
A Timbuktu resident said on Thursday that MNLA fighters who had been stationed at the city's airport and port had now even abandoned those positions.
Ansar Dine's Hamaha said more than 22 MNLA fighters including a top colonel had been killed during the Gao battle, while three of their fighters had died in combat.
He added that MNLA leader Bilal Ag Acherif had been injured and evacuated to neighbouring Burkina Faso. MNLA's Attaher declined to confirm the identities or number of casualties but a Burkinabe security source confirmed he had been injured.
"He was injured in a mortar attack and was bleeding a lot from the ear, but we managed to stop the bleeding," he said.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's call comes after Palestinian lawmakers accused Israel of an anti-democratic crackdown as the Gaza war rages, with dozens of elected officials detained, placed under investigation or restricted in their movements.
Officer Dan Page called black people “little perverts” while holding a copy of the Bible and implied that Muslims were murderers.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), citing government figures, said that 36,441 people had lost their homes in the floods as of Aug. 21.
Norway's Espen Barth Eide will be taking over as the UN's Special Adviser on Cyprus from Australia's Alexander Downer.
Ukrainian football club Shakhtar Donetsk confirms that there are no casualties among the stadium staff.
Home Secretary (interior minister) Theresa May said she was preparing new laws to tackle militants at home and to stop them going abroad to fight.
Forces of renegade General Khalifa Haftar who has launched a military campaign against rebels in the eastern city of Benghazi claimed the attack.
Police said Stephen McLaughlin and Timothy Murphy, both aged 34 and from Northern Ireland, were charged with conspiring to facilitate illegal entry into the United Kingdom.
Two civilians were killed and four others injured in a border clash between the two nuclear powers.
Local fishermen raised the alarm at dawn on Saturday morning and the coast guard managed to rescue 16 migrants who were still alive in the water, surrounded by bodies.
The return of the trucks may help ease the tension to some extent in time for talks in Ukraine's capital on Saturday between visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian leaders over how to end the crisis in the ex-Soviet republic.
At least seventeen people were killed in the attack.
Prayuth did not mention his appointment as prime minister.
Germany's Vice Chancellor, Social Democrat Sigmar Gabriel, said "A clever concept of federalisation seem to be the only practicable way."
Over the past two days, Sanaa has been at the center of intense protests and sit-ins – called for by al-Houthi – to demand the dismissal of the current government.
The White House publicized details of the raid on Wednesday, a day after IS fighters posted a video showing Foley being beheaded.