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Dozens of soldiers killed in Mali attack

BAMAKO, Mali -- Jihadis attacked the Malian military near the border with Niger, leaving at least 53 soldiers and one civilian dead, in the second major assault against the country's armed forces in a month, the government said Saturday.

The latest violence to target Mali's armed forces took place Friday in Indelimane, located in Mali's volatile Menaka region.

"Reinforcements have been sent to the scene and the situation is under control with the support of the French military, which is helping to evacuate the wounded," government spokesman Yaya Sangare told The Associated Press.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, though jihadis with links to the Islamic State group are active in the area. The assailants were believed to have fled toward the border with Niger, Sangare said.

The new violence is likely to further raise tensions in the capital, Bamako, where military families have already protested in the streets. They say that soldiers are not being given the resources on the ground that they need to confront an array of jihadi groups.

Friday's violence occurred a month after 41 soldiers were killed and 20 others were reported missing during two attacks on Malian soldiers taking part in a regional counterterrorism force.

Norway seeks deportation of U.S. citizen

HELSINKI -- Norwegian authorities have arrested a high-profile U.S. white supremacist scheduled to speak at an international far-right conference in Oslo and say they will seek his deportation.

Spokesman Martin Bernsen from Norway's domestic security agency PST told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK that a U.S. citizen was arrested Saturday "on the basis of the Immigration Act section 106" including a suspicion that "he may play an obvious role in radicalization."

PST didn't give the person's name, but he was identified by Norwegian media as Greg Johnson, who was a scheduled speaker in the conference by the Scandza Forum, a far-right network known for its anti-Semitic and racist views.

Based in Seattle, Johnson is a writer and editor-in-chief of the white nationalist Counter-Currents Publishing and a contributor to several publications.

Italy arrests 19 in international drug ring

ROME -- Police in Italy arrested 19 people, most from Tanzania, when dismantling a heroin ring involving more than 150 suspects in Africa, Asia and Europe, authorities said on Saturday.

The arrests stemmed from a probe begun in 2012 with a heroin seizure in Perugia, a university town in central Italy.

Investigators in Perugia told reporters that one ringleader is a Tanzanian who, from his base in Poland, directed heroin shipments from Asia to Italy for street sales. Several other suspects are from Burundi, Carabinieri paramilitary police said in a statement.

Authorities said the drug traffickers kept a low profile, living in modest homes and working as barbers, merchants and other legitimate professions. Since the probe began, 144 drug couriers have been arrested.

Overall, heroin worth $39 million and cocaine worth $4.7 million was seized, including two busts at Paris airports in 2015, one at Rome's main airport in 2013, and others in Santorini, Greece, in 2015 and another at Austria's border with Italy in 2013, where heroin was found inside a fire extinguisher in a Turkish truck that had set out by ferry from Greece to Trieste, Italy.

Some of the intermediaries were based in Italy's Caserta area, where the Casalesi clan of the Camorra crime syndicate largely holds sway, and one of the suspects, from Ivory Coast, rented a villa owned by a Casalesi mobster, the Carabinieri said.

Before 2013, police said, the delivery route was less circuitous, with couriers departing directly from the places where the drugs were produced -- heroin from Asia and cocaine from Latin America.

Bomb near Afghan school kills 8 children

KABUL, Afghanistan -- An Afghan official says eight children have been killed by a roadside bomb near their school in the northeastern Takhar province.

Sayed Mehraj Sadat, the provincial police chief, said the victims of Saturday's attack were from 10 to 15 years old.

He said the bomb's intended target was most likely Afghan security forces, who often use the road.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sadat blames Taliban insurgents who are active in Takhar province, particularly in Darqad district, where the attack took place.

In October, the Taliban launched large-scale attacks in several districts, including the provincial capital Taluqan, which were repelled by Afghan security forces.

Yearlong peace talks between the U.S. and the Taliban ended in September, after President Donald Trump declared a seemingly imminent deal "dead."

A Section on 11/03/2019

Print Headline: The World in brief

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