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ROME (AP) — Pope Francis joined Italy in pressing the European Union Saturday to do more to help the country cope with rapidly mounting numbers of desperate people rescued in the Mediterranean during journeys on smugglers' boats to flee war, persecution or poverty.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in Afghanistan Saturday that killed 33 people and wounded more than 100 others, President Ashraf Ghani said, in what appears to be the first major attack by the jihadists in the country. Ghani's government has repeatedly raised the ominous prospect of IS making inroads into Afghanistan, though the group that has captured swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq has never formally acknowledged having a presence in Afghanistan. The Taliban have seen defections to the group in recent months, with some self-styled IS insurgents voicing their disaffection with their one-eyed supreme leader Mullah Omar, who has not been seen since the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.
By Tiemoko Diallo and Adama Diarra BAMAKO (Reuters) - A group headed by former al Qaeda fighter Mokhtar Belmokhtar has claimed responsibility for a suicide raid on U.N. peacekeepers in northern Mali earlier this week as two people were killed in an attack targeting truck convoy. At least three civilians were killed and nine peacekeepers from Niger were seriously injured in Wednesday's attack on a U.N. base in the town of Ansongo, around 80 km (50 miles) south of the city of Gao. The authenticity of the recording could not be verified, but Alakhbar is often sent statements by Islamist militants in Mali. The group has also said it was behind an attack on a restaurant in Mali's capital Bamako last month that killed five people including a French citizen and a Belgian security officer.