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In Brief

In Brief

Avalanche kills 16 in Tajikistan
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan
An avalanche killed at least 16 people in the mountains of Tajikistan on Saturday while more people remained trapped under snow, an Interior Ministry official said.
The avalanche occurred after several days of heavy snowfall and hit a road that connects the Central Asian state's capital Dushanbe with another city, Khudjand.
Pictures shown on Russia's Vesti-24 news channel showed heavy tractors clearing snow from a narrow mountain road and trucks trapped at the site, 70 kilometers north of Dushanbe.
Mountains occupy 93 percent of Tajikistan's territory.
"Our report from the site says 16 bodies have been dug out," colonel Khaidar Makhmadiyev from the Interior Ministry said.
The Emergency Ministry said three people were killed and many more were still trapped under snow.
"There are still people under snow, we cannot say how many at the moment. The rescue operation continues," said Emergency Ministry official Makhmadullo Khalimov.
Hamas ready for truce
RAMALLAH, West Bank
A senior aide to the Hamas chief in the Gaza Strip said in an interview published yesterday that the Islamic group was prepared to reach a truce with Israel if it stops its military campaign against Gaza militants and opens crossings into the impoverished, isolated territory.
The comments by Ahmed Youssef, aide to Hamas' Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh, as reported by the Palestinian Maan news agency, were the latest by Hamas officials in support of a cease-fire.
"We don't object to a truce that ends the siege, but it should not be given gratis, and will not be open-ended," Maan quoted Youssef as saying. Israel must stop its military strikes and ease the humanitarian situation in Gaza by opening crossings, he said.
Al-Qaida leader 'read'
CAIRO, Egypt
The purported leader of al-Qaida's umbrella group in Iraq has confirmed the death of a top operative who the U.S. military said was killed in an attack last month, according to a new audiotape.
The U.S. military had said it captured or killed 40 al-Qaida fighters last month, including a Syrian who died in a November 17 raid on a reported propaganda house. The Syrian, identified as Abu Maysara, had escaped from an Iraqi prison in March.
Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, praised Maysara as "a well experienced holy warrior and propagandist."
In the 46-minute long audio tape posted on an Islamic militant Web site on Saturday, al-Baghdadi also said Maysara was the author of "Abu Zubaida Security Manual," which was used as a training guideline by the terror group in Iraq.
German rail strike
BERLIN, Germany
A Deutsche Bahn executive says the German rail operator has lined up enough replacement train drivers to largely negate the impact of any further strikes over a wage dispute by the GDL train drivers' union.
Georg Brunnhuber, a member of Deutsche Bahn's supervisory board, told Bild am Sonntag newspaper that about 1,000 replacement train drivers would be able to fill gaps left by striking drivers for the union, with 34,000 members.


Updated : 2021-06-25 15:56 GMT+08:00