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Claims IS Leader Baghdadi Heard In New Audio Recording

Islamic State militants have released what appears to be an audio recording of their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

A speaker who sounds like the IS leader seems to refer to recent North Korean threats against Japan and the US. He also talks of battles for IS strongholds like Mosul, which was regained by Iraqi forces in July.

Baghdadi, who has a $25m (£19m) US bounty on his head, has not been seen in public since July 2014, leading to much speculation about his fate.

The last time he appeared was to preach at the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul after IS overran the city and a “caliphate” was proclaimed.

Asked about the audio, a spokesman for US forces fighting IS, Ryan Dillon, said “without verifiable evidence of his death, we have continued to assume that he is alive”. A defence department spokesman said: “We are aware of the audio tape purported to be of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and are taking steps to examine it. While we have no reason to doubt its authenticity, we do not have verification at this point.”

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MoD Armoured Vehicles Failing British Troops

Armoured vehicles designed to protect British troops from roadside bombs keep breaking down.

Foxhounds – first deployed in 2012 – were designed to safeguard soldiers in a blast and operate in hot conditions. An Army sergeant in Iraq, responsible for maintaining a fleet of seven Foxhounds, said the vehicle was “a massive waste of money”.

The Ministry of Defence said Foxhound had dealt with “demanding conditions in Iraq” and was “keeping soldiers safe”.

The vehicle replaced the “snatch” Land Rover, which was dubbed the “mobile coffin” after 37 troops died while travelling in the vehicles. It was designed specifically to operate in the hot and dusty climate of Helmand in Afghanistan, with each vehicle costing nearly £1m.

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Woman Arrested On Breaching Official Secrets Act

A woman has been arrested by counter-terrorism police on suspicion of breaching the Official Secrets Act, the Metropolitan Police has said.

The 65-year-old had been working for the government and was detained after intelligence was received by police.

Scotland Yard said she was arrested at a property in north London under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.

The woman is in custody at a south London police station and a north London address is being searched. Police have not identified the government department she was working for as a contractor. The fact the woman is being held under Section 1 of the Official Secrets Act 1911 means she is suspected of spying.

She is not thought to have been working for any of the intelligence agencies but the arrest is based on MI5 information.

Man Dies After Police Shooting On M5 Junction

A man has died in a shooting involving armed police at a junction of the M5 motorway near Bristol.
An eyewitness said officers fired shots at a car on the Portbury Hundred (A369) near junction 19 for Portishead at about 09:30 BST. He said he saw police shoot at the passenger window and drag a man out of the bullet-riddled car.

Avon and Somerset Police said it had referred the death to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The force said it was not terror-related.

David Ellison said he saw officers fire between six and 10 shots through the passenger window using handguns.
“They surrounded it. They shot maybe five, six or 10 times,” he said. “Then they dragged a man from the car to resuscitate him. “It came off the roundabout towards Portishead and then was boxed in by cars.”

A red car with smashed windows can be seen behind the police cordon.

Forensic officers in white protective suits are scouring every inch of the car and road surface. An object on the roof of the red car looks like a handgun to the naked eye. There are bullet holes in the windows and shards of shattered glass on the tarmac below. The driver’s door is open.

This afternoon police erected a large privacy barrier across the end of the road and extended the cordon around the scene.
A large blue police tent has been carried in and installed next to the car.

Lisa Fussell said she had been driving along the Portbury Hundred when she came across a scene of “chaos” involving two unmarked police cars, “five or six officers dressed all in black” and the red car. “The air ambulance landed in front of us. The medics got out and ran to a red car. It looked like someone had been taken ill,” she said. “It frightened us and it’s upsetting now that we know he’s been killed. He was someone’s son.”

A police spokesman said: “We can confirm a man died earlier this morning in an incident involving police firearms on The Portbury Hundred (A369) in Portishead. “We have referred the incident to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.”
An IPCC spokesman confirmed it had launched an investigation and said its teams were at the scene gathering evidence.

The Great Western Air Ambulance’s critical care team also attended the scene. The road is likely to be closed for several hours.

The Portbury Hundred links the M5 motorway to the town of Portishead, to the west of Bristol.

Myanmar: 28 Hindu Villagers Found In A Mass Grave

The Burmese authorities have accused Muslim Rohingya militants of killing 28 Hindu villagers whose bodies were allegedly found in a mass grave.

The army says the bodies of 20 women and eight men and boys were found in two pits in northern Rakhine state.

The state has been in turmoil since 25 August when Rohingya militants launched deadly attacks on police posts.

Over 400,000 Rohingya have since fled an offensive by the military, which the UN accuses of ethnic cleansing.

Hindus as well as members of the majority Buddhist population in Myanmar (also called Burma) have also been displaced from their homes by the violence in Rakhine.

The military denies widespread reports it has committed atrocities, saying it only targeted those belonging to the militant Arakan Salvation Rohingya Army.

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