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Somalis carry away the body of a dead civilian after a bomb attack on Ambassador Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, June 2, 2016. Somalia's Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, stormed the hotel, often frequented by government officials and business executives, killing people and taking a number of hostages, police said. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

Somalis carry away the body of a dead civilian after a bomb attack on Ambassador Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, June 2, 2016. Somalia's Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, stormed the hotel, often frequented by government officials and business executives, killing people and taking a number of hostages, police said. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)


From Washington, this is VOA News. I’m Dave DeForest reporting.

A second mass kidnapping within a week in Afghanistan …

Afghan provincial officials say the Taliban Wednesday abducted at least 17 bus passengers in the north of the country.

A government spokesman says residents of the Balkhab district were traveling to the capital of Sar-e-Pul province when the Taliban kidnapped them. The spokesman said tribal elders are negotiating their release.

Three of the gunmen who attacked a Mogadishu hotel Wednesday were killed today (Thursday) in a shootout with authorities. A fourth attacker was killed the day before.

Security forces rescued 57 hostages being held by the gunmen at the Ambassador Hotel. The death toll in the incident has been put at 24.

Efforts to get aid to victims of Syria's civil war are being hampered by the Syrian government. The regime of President Bashar al-Assad has yet to agree on a broad opening of certain areas to humanitarian convoys. The government is also continuing a siege on regions held by opposition groups.

U.S. officials say nearly 20 towns have been deprived of food and humanitarian shipments.

The U.S., Britain, and France have issued an urgent call for the United Nations to begin humanitarian airdrops. U.N. officials, however, were quoted as saying airdrops are not imminent.

German lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Thursday to recognize the World War One-era killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the action will have a serious impact on relations between Germany and Turkey. He recalled Turkey's ambassador to Germany for consultations.

This is VOA News.

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