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U.S. Drops MOAB, 'Mother of All Bombs,' in Afghanistan

First combat use of MOAB targets ISIS tunnel complex in Nangarhar province, U.S. military says

The U.S. has dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan on Thursday, the U.S. military said, in an attack targeting an ISIS tunnel complex in the province of Nangarhar.
According to the statement, this was the first combat use of the bomb, also known as the "Massive Ordnance Air Blast," or the "Mother of All Bombs."
The number of casualties was not immediately clear and the U.S. military told CNN it was assessing the damage.
According to CNN reporter David Wright, the bomb targeted ISIS' tunnels and personnel in Nangarhar's Achin district. He added that the bomb was dropped by an MC-130 aircraft, operated by the Air Force Special Operations Command.
The security situation in Afghanistan remains precarious, with a number of militant groups trying to claim territory more than 15 years after the U.S. invasion which toppled the Taliban government.
The U.S. Forces-Afghanistan Headquarters said in a statement that the strike was "designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and U.S. Forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities," using an abbreviation for Islamic State Khurazan, the militant group's offshoot in Afghanistan.
"This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K," General John W. Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, was cited in the statement as saying.
The bomb blast was also felt in Wall Street, where the Dow Jones industrial average fell 100 points and the S&P 500 fell 0.45 percent. Nasdaq fell 0.23 percent.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer opened his daily news briefing speaking about the use of the bomb and said, "We targeted a system of tunnels and caves that ISIS fighters used to move around freely, making it easier for them to target U.S. military advisers and Afghan forces in the area."

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Last week, a U.S. soldier was killed in the same district as the bomb was dropped while conducting operations against ISIS.
"The United States takes the fight against ISIS very seriously and in order to defeat the group, we must deny them operational space, which we did," Spicer said.
He said the bomb was used at around 7 P.M. local time and described the device as "a large, powerful and accurately delivered weapon." The United States took "all precautions necessary to prevent civilian casualties and collateral damage," he said.
U.S. officials say intelligence suggests ISIS is based overwhelmingly in Nangarhar and neighboring Kunar province, but estimates of its strength in Afghanistan vary. U.S. officials have said they believe the movement has only 700 fighters but Afghan officials estimate it has about 1,500.

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ISIS' offshoot in Afghanistan is suspected of carrying out several attacks on minority Shi'ite Muslim targets.
The Afghan Taliban, which is trying to overthrow the U.S.-backed government in Kabul, are fiercely opposed to ISIS and the two group have clashed as they seek to expand territory and influence.

Haaretz

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/1.783362…

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Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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