News in Brief 8 February 2017 (AM)

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A wide view of the Security Council Chamber. UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Security Council condemns “heinous and cowardly” attack on Afghan court

The Security Council has described the terrorist attack outside Afghanistan’s Supreme Court in the capital Kabul on Tuesday as “heinous and cowardly.”

At least 21 were killed, and more than 40 wounded.

Many of the victims were women, said the UN Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, most of them female Supreme Court employees.

No party has so-far claimed responsibility for the suicide attack, but it appears to have deliberately targeted civilian judicial staff as they were leaving work.

UNAMA noted that since the beginning of 2015 alone, there have been 74 separate attacks targeting judges, prosecutors and judicial staff, resulting in 89 deaths.

The Security Council reiterated its “serious concern” at threats posed by extremist groups such as the Taliban, Daesh and Al-Qaeda to Afghans.

Civilian displacement slowing in eastern Mosul, but firing continues

Civilian displacement has slowed following the recapture of eastern Mosul by Iraqi government forces, but there’s been an increase in indirect mortar strikes.

That’s according to the UN and other humanitarian partners on the ground, where the delivery of vital aid is said to be improving.

Assistance to eastern neighbourhoods and the surrounding area so far has included more than 280,000 “ready to eat” meals, basic water and hygiene supplies.

The offensive to liberate western Mosul where around 750,000 civilians continue to be trapped under the control of ISIL or Daesh extremists, is due to get underway soon.

A UN spokesperson said that humanitarian organizations were “working closely with the government” on preparations for additional camps and emergency relief for those fleeing the fighting.

UN vehicles donated to Lebanese Armed Forces

The UN Interim Force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, handed over vehicles and other assets worth more than US$650,000 to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and its intelligence service on Wednesday, during a special ceremony.

The donation at UNIFIL headquarters in south Lebanon is the largest single contribution made to the LAF by the UN.

Force Commander Major General Michael Beary said the donations were a “clear and important demonstration of how UNIFIL is striving to increase the capacity” of the LAF.

He hoped the equipment would help increase the number of joint operations that UNIFIL and the LAF already take part in, adding that it would help maintain the cessation of hostilities for the benefit of civilians living along the border with Israel.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’13″