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Dalit Couple Murdered By Grocer Over Biscuit Debt

A man from India’s Dalit community has been beheaded and his wife hacked to death after a row over a 15 rupees (22 cents; 16 pence) debt in Uttar Pradesh state.

Police said the couple were murdered by an upper caste grocer on Thursday when they told him they needed time to pay for biscuits they had bought from him. The grocer has been arrested.

Dalits, formerly known as untouchables, form the lowest rung of India’s caste hierarchy.

Police told the Press Trust of India news agency the incident took place in Mainpuri district early on Thursday as the couple were on their way to work. They were stopped by Ashok Mishra, the owner of a village grocery, who demanded that the couple pay the money for three packets of biscuits that they had bought for their three children a few days ago, reports say.

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Boko Haram Ambushes UN Humanitarian Aid Convoy

Suspected Islamist Boko Haram militants have ambushed a UN humanitarian aid convoy in north-eastern Nigeria which had a military escort, officials say.

The military said three civilians, including UN staff, and two soldiers were wounded in the attack.

It has prompted the UN to temporarily suspend aid deliveries in Borno state, where more than two million people have been displaced by the insurgency.

The UN says thousands of children are severely malnourished in the region.

Earlier this month the UN’s children agency warned that tens of thousands of children would die if treatment did not reach them soon.

Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which has lost most of the territory it controlled 18 months ago, is fighting to overthrow the government. Its seven-year insurgency has left 20,000 people dead mainly in the country’s north-east. Almost 250,000 children are affected by severe malnutrition in the region, with one in five at risk of dying if they do not receive help, according to the UN.

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North Eastern City Of Syria Bombed By IS Leaving Dozens Dead

Forty-four people have been killed in a massive bombing in the Kurdish-controlled city of Qamishli in north-east Syria, Syrian state TV reports.

The blast was caused by a truck bomb which struck near a Kurdish security headquarters, according to a UK-based monitoring group.

So-called Islamic State (IS) has said it was behind the attack, in Hassakeh province, near the border with Turkey. IS has previously carried out bombings against Kurds in the area.

A Kurdish-dominated militia, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by air strikes from the US-led coalition, is spearheading the battle against IS in northern Syria. The jihadist group said Wednesday’s attack was in response to air strikes on the IS-held city of Manbij in north-west Aleppo province, where the SDF is on the offensive.

In a separate development, Syrian forces besieging rebel-held eastern Aleppo city called on anyone with weapons there to lay down their arms, announcing it had severed all supply routes.

Government forces effectively cut off rebel areas, which have held out for four years, after closing in on the strategic Castello Road, the main link to the eastern sector, earlier this month.

The UN has warned about 300,000 people face starvation within weeks unless food is allowed through.

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Second Suspect In French Priest Attack Revealed

French prosecutors have identified the second man involved in the killing of a priest in a Normandy church on Tuesday as 19-year-old Abdel Malik Petitjean.

Like the other attacker, Adel Kermiche, he was known to the security services. The teenagers were shot dead by police outside the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray where they had killed Father Jacques Hamel, 86, and taken hostages.

So-called Islamic State (IS) released a video of what it said were the two men pledging allegiance to the group. “Following DNA tests, it emerged that the terrorist has been identified as Abdel Malik Nabil Petitjean,” a source in the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

Petitjean, from a town in eastern France, had been on a watch list as a potential security threat since June after trying to enter Syria from Turkey. He had been harder than Kermiche to identify because his body was badly disfigured in the police shooting, but officers found an ID card belonging to him in Kermiche’s home and confirmed his identity in a DNA match with his mother. After Petitjean was named, his mother, Yamina, denied he could have been the killer. “I know my kid, he is kind. I did not produce a devil. He never talked about IS,” she told BFM television.

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French Priest Killed By Armed Men In Rouen

A priest has been killed in an attack by two armed men at his church in a suburb of Rouen in northern France.

The attackers entered the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during Mass, taking the priest, Fr Jacques Hamel, 84, and four other people hostage.

Police later surrounded the church and French TV said shots were fired. Both hostage-takers are now dead. President Francois Hollande said the men claimed to be from so-called Islamic State (IS). Speaking in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, he said the attackers had committed a “cowardly assassination” and France would fight IS “by all means”.

The IS-linked Amaq news agency said “two soldiers of the Islamic State” had carried out the attack. Pope Francis decried the “pain and horror of this absurd violence”.

French interior ministry spokesman, Pierre-Henri Brandet, said one of the hostages had been critically wounded. He said the hostage-takers had been “neutralised” after coming out of the church. Police were now searching the church for explosives.

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