EU to appeal court's removal of Hamas from terror blacklist
The European Union is planning to appeal a December court decision to order the removal of Palestinian militant movement Hamas from its terror blacklist, EU spokeswoman Susanne Kiefer said on Twitter. “[The EU] Council has decided to appeal the judgment regarding Hamas remaining on the EU terrorist list,” she said.
Yemen’s president, Houthi rebels reach ceasefire deal after clashes
Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has reached a ceasefire deal with Houthi rebels after hours of heavy clashes around the presidential palace, AP reported, citing the information minister. Nadia Sakkaf said Monday that Hadi will hold a meeting with representatives from the Houthis later in the day. Hadi was at his private residence, away from the gun battles earlier Monday in the capital, Sanaa, which Houthis seized in September.
5 killed by US drone strike in NW Pakistan
A US drone strike on Monday killed at least five militants in a Pakistani tribal region, security officials said. The strike targeted a Taliban compound in North Waziristan, one of seven semi-autonomous tribal districts that border Afghanistan, AFP reported. Islamabad launched a full-scale military offensive last year in the area, which has been a hub for Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants since the early 2000s.
35 Syrian soldiers killed in military plane crash – monitor
At least 35 soldiers have been killed after a military aircraft crashed in Syria’s Idlib province, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Syrian media reported the crash but didn’t release a death toll. “A medium-sized cargo plane crashed last night while landing at the Abu al-Duhur military airport because of bad weather conditions and heavy fog, killing the crew on board,” the Sana state news agency said. The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front claimed that the plane was shot down by their fighters.
Pope Francis ends Asia tour
Pope Francis flew back to Rome on Monday after a week in Asia that saw him draw record crowds, AFP reported. He visited Sri Lanka and the Philippines on his second trip to Asia in five months to promote the Catholic Church in one of its most important growth regions. Six million people turned out in Manila as the pontiff celebrated Mass on Sunday - a world record for a papal gathering.
Army, Houthi militants clash in Yemeni capital
Heavy gunfire has been reported in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. According to an eyewitness quoted by Reuters news agency, the fighting between the army and Houthi fighters took place near the presidential compound. Shooting could also be heard across the city. Sources told Al Arabiya TV that residents were injured in the clashes. On January 1, almost 50 people were killed and some 70 people were injured when a suicide bomber struck the cultural center of the city of Ibb in the country’s northwest during a Shia religious ceremony. The Houthi insurgent group, also known as the Partisans of God, demand more rights for the Zaydi Shi'ite Muslim sect. They seized Sanaa in Septmber and advanced into western and central territories of the country.
80 kidnapped, 3 killed in Boko Haram attack in Cameroon
Boko Haram has killed at least three people and kidnapped around 80 others in a cross-border attack in northern Cameroon, Reuters quoted army and government officials as saying. The vast majority of those kidnapped are women and children. Cameroon soldiers intervened in a heavy fire exchange that lasted for about two hours. The assault was launched after neighboring Chad deployed troops to combat Boko Haram both in Cameroon and Nigeria.