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Baghdad double suicide attack kills many

January 15, 2018 by  
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Officials say the death toll could rise

At least 35 people have been killed in a double suicide bombing in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, officials say, the second attack in three days.

More than 90 were injured in the attack in Tayaran Square in the city centre.

Baghdad has seen almost daily bombings and armed attacks since the Islamic State group took over large areas of the country in 2014.

However, the pace of attacks has declined since the militants’ defeat in December.

Monday’s attack was carried out by two men with suicide vests packed with explosives, the interior ministry said.

The site of the attack is a busy square where large crowds of construction workers gather to find work.

It has been targeted by militants in the past.

An AFP reporter said there were a large number of security personnel at the site.

A suicide bomb attack on a checkpoint in the north of the city on Saturday killed at least five people, police said.

The renewed violence follows the announcement of parliamentary elections to be held in May.

Benjamin Netanyahu in India LIVE updates: Narendra Modi, Israeli PM likely to issue joint press statement at 1.30 pm

January 15, 2018 by  
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Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday received a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and then proceeded to Rajghat in New Delhi, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, to pay tribute to the “great leader”. He then proceeded to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold delegation-level talks at Hyderabad House at noon.

Netanyahu’s visit to India is only the second by an Israeli prime minister and comes after a gap of 15 years. The visit also marks 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations. His visit assumes even more significance as it comes just over six months after the visit of Modi to Israel, which was the first ever Indian prime ministerial visit to the West Asian nation.

It also comes just days after India voted against Israel at the United Nations on the Jerusalem issue. Netanyahu is expected to focus on economic issues and Palestine is not likely to be the central part of discussions with Modi, Israeli daily Jerusalem Post reported.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday. Twitter/ @PMOIndia

Netanyahu will formally be welcomed at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace, on Monday followed by a visit to Rajghat, Mohandas Gandhi’s memorial. During his stay, Netanyahu will also visit Gujarat and Mumbai. On Monday, Netanyahu will meet members at the India-Israeli CEO forum in New Delhi and address a separate business event.

In a sign of growing importance to the ties with Israel, the government on Sunday renamed Delhi’s Teen Murti Chowk as Teen Murti-Haifa Chowk after the Israeli city.

Modi and Netanyahu laid a wreath at the iconic Teen Murti war memorial where they were received by army chief General Bipin Rawat and foreign secretary S Jaishankar.

The two leaders paid homage to Indian soldiers who fell in the Battle of Haifa during World War I.

Netanyahu’s entourage includes the largest-ever delegation of Israeli business people, of some 130. According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, these businessmen include senior executives of Aeronautics Defense Systems — an Israeli drone maker currently under criminal investigation by the police’s international crimes division.

At least nine commercial agreements are expected be signed during the visit. These include memoranda of understanding on gas and oil, renewable energy, aviation, industrial research and development, cybersecurity, reciprocal investments, supplementary medicine, space research and joint movie productions, Haaretz said.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu will fly to Agra to view the iconic Taj Mahal.

Netanyahu and Modi will open the Raisina Dialogue, India’s annual geopolitical conference to be attended by people from around the world, including former US nuclear negotiator Wendy Sherman, in Delhi.

The Israeli prime minister will deliver a speech at the Raisina Dialogue on on Tuesday and also call on President Ram Nath Kovind.

He will then leave for Ahmedabad on the morning of 17 January. In Ahmedabad, he will visit the Sabarmati Ashram. Modi and Netanyahu will also visit the Centre of Excellence in Vadrad and inaugurate a Centre of Excellence for date palms in Bhuj via video conferencing.

The Israeli prime minister will have a number of engagements in Mumbai on 18 January. The Israeli embassy had said that Netanyahu will meet with Jewish community leaders and select members of the Indian business community in Mumbai.

The Israeli embassy said he will reach out to Bollywood in an exclusive “Shalom Bollywood” event. In Mumbai, he will also attend a ceremony at the Chabad House, which will be attended by Moshe Holtzberg, the 11-year-old whose parents were killed during the 26/11 terror strike.

Netanyahu will return to Israel on Friday afternoon from Mumbai.

With inputs from agencies