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A massive bomb attack in a busy area of the Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday is now known to have killed at least 230 people, police say.

Hundreds more were wounded when a lorry packed with explosives detonated near the entrance of a hotel.

It is the deadliest terror attack in Somalia since the Islamist al-Shabab group launched its insurgency in 2007.

It is not clear who staged the bombing, but Mogadishu is a target for al-Shabab militants battling the government.

President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” Mohamed has declared three days of mourning for the victims of the blast.

Local media reported families gathering in the area on Sunday morning, looking for missing loved ones amid the ruins of one of the largest bombs ever to strike the city.

There are fears people are trapped under the rubble

A BBC Somali reporter at the scene of the main blast said the Safari Hotel had collapsed, with people trapped under the rubble.

An eyewitness, local resident Muhidin Ali, told news agency AFP it was “the biggest blast I have ever witnessed, it destroyed the whole area”.

Meanwhile, the director of the Madina Hospital, Mohamed Yusuf Hassan, said he was shocked by the scale of the attack.

“Seventy-two wounded people were admitted to the hospital and 25 of them are in very serious condition. Others lost their hands and legs at the scene.

“What happened yesterday was incredible, I have never seen such a thing before, and countless people lost their lives. Corpses were burned beyond recognition.”

The death toll continues to rise after the deadly blast

The international community has been quick to condemn the attack.

In a statement, the US Mission to Somalia said: “Such cowardly attacks reinvigorate the commitment of the United States to assist our Somali and African Union partners to combat the scourge of terrorism.”

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: “My thoughts are with families of the victims, and the government and people of Somalia at this difficult time.

“Those responsible have shown no regard for human life or the suffering of the Somali people. The UK will continue to support Somalia in the fight against terrorism.”

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At least 58 people were killed and 500 injured when a heavily armed ‘lone wolf’ gunman opened fire from a 32-floor hotel room on an open-air concert on the Las Vegas Strip in the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 01: People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was hear on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A gunman has opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, leaving at least 20 people dead and more than 100 injured. Police have confirmed that one suspect has been shot. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

The IS group claimed the 64-year-old Nevada man behind the Sunday night massacre, Stephen Craig Paddock, was one of its “soldiers” but the FBI said it had found no such connection so far.

Police said Paddock, a retired accountant, killed himself before a SWAT team breached his room in the Mandalay Bay hotel overlooking the venue for the country music concert.

President Donald Trump denounced what he called “an act of pure evil” and said he would visit Las Vegas on Wednesday.

This undated photo provided by Eric Paddock shows him (left) with his brother, Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock (right) (AAP)

Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters at least eight rifles had been recovered from the gunman’s hotel room.

Paddock was believed to be a “lone wolf” assailant who acted alone, Lombardo said, declining to speculate as to what may have motivated the attack.

Who is the Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock?

The 64-year-old had a home in a tranquil golf course retirement community in Mesquite, Nevada, 80 miles (130 kilometers) east of the gambling hub and, according to a brother, showed no sign he was poised to commit mass murder.

The Islamic State Group said the worst mass shooting in recent US history was perpetrated by one of its “soldiers,” claiming that Paddock had converted to Islam in recent weeks and carried out the attack in its name.

But the FBI said they saw “no connection” between Paddock and international terror groups, and a stunned nation remained at a loss to understand the motive for the Sunday night massacre, which left 58 people dead and more than 500 injured.

“I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath at this point,” he said.

Lombardo said Paddock had apparently used a hammer to smash the window of his hotel room before opening fire on the crowd below.

Police said around 22,000 people were attending the concert when bursts of automatic gunfire erupted shortly after 10:00 pm (0500 GMT).

Concert-goers screamed and fled in panic as a steady stream of bullets rained down from the hotel.

58 dead, 515 injured

Lombardo said 58 people had been confirmed dead and 515 injured and he said the toll could rise. The authorities issued an appeal for blood donors.

IS said one of its “soldiers” who had “converted to Islam several months ago” was behind the shooting but provided no evidence to back up the claim.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it has found no such link so far.

“As this event unfolds we have determined to this point no connection with an international terrorist group,” said Aaron Rouse, special agent in charge of the Las Vegas office of the FBI.

Paddock, who photographs showed as greying with a trimmed beard and moustache, was a former accountant and a licensed private pilot with no criminal record, according to ABC News.

Eric Paddock, the gunman’s brother, said he was at a complete loss to understand what may have motivated the shooting.

“This is an asteroid falling out of the sky,” Eric Paddock told CBS News.

He said his brother had “no religious affiliation, no political affiliation.”

“He was my brother. He was a guy. He gambled,” Eric Paddock said.

He said his brother had no history of mental illness and was “not an avid gun guy at all.”

Paddock resided in a new golf course development in the desert just outside Mesquite, Nevada, 80 miles northeast (130 kilometers) of Las Vegas.

‘Pretty much like a war scene’

Witnesses said Paddock opened fire with an initial long burst of gunfire, and then appeared to reload as he continued his spree.

“We heard (what) sounded like a glass breaking, so you looked around to see what’s going on and then heard a pop, pop, pop,” Monique Dekerf told CNN.

“You’d think for a moment okay we’re fine, there’s no more gunfire, then it starts again.”

Country music star Jason Aldean was on stage and near the end of his concert when the shooting began.

Aldean initially carried on playing when the first crackle of gunfire could be heard but then hurried off the stage.

Robert Hayes, a firefighter from Los Angeles who was in front of the stage, said he first thought the shots were some kind of equipment malfunction.

Once he realised what was going on, he joined the first responders, donning one of their vests.

“Honestly I probably pronounced 15-20 people” dead, he told Fox News. “It was pretty much like a war scene inside.”

Emergency crews used anything to hand as makeshift stretchers, including tables and metal railings normally used to control the crowds, said Hayes.

Asked if he thought it was an inexperienced gunman, he responded: “With 30,000 people in the arena area, it was kind of like shooting goldfish … He didn’t have to be good.”

Broken windows are seen on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino after a lone gunman opened fired (Getty)

‘Beyond horrific’

The Las Vegas attack is the deadliest shooting in recent US history, exceeding the toll of 49 dead in an attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida in June 2016.

It was also the latest in a series of recent deadly attacks at concert venues.

Twenty-two people were killed while leaving an Ariana Grande concert in the northern English city of Manchester in May when a suicide bomber detonated a nail bomb in the foyer.

Ninety people were killed in November 2015 at the Bataclan venue in Paris during a concert by US band the Eagles of Death Metal.

A shocked Aldean told his fans via Instagram that he and his band was safe.

“Tonight has been beyond horrific,” the singer wrote.

“It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”

Pope Francis said he was “deeply saddened” by the “senseless tragedy” while Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May called it an “appalling attack.”

Henry Sapiecha

A NORTH Korean defector has revealed she saw 11 musicians “blown to bits” by anti-aircraft guns in a terrifying execution ordered by maniacal dictator Kim Jong-un.

Hee Yeon Lim, 26, the daughter of a high-ranking soldier from Pyongyang, fled to South Korea last year and has told of the horrors she witnessed while part of the secretive Kim regime’s inner circle.

Speaking with The Mirror, she described one occasion where she was pulled out of school by soldiers and forced to watch a group of musicians accused of making a pornographic video being slaughtered.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s nuclear ambitions have shocked the world. Picture: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

Hee Yeon said she and her classmates were taken to a stadium at the city’s Military Academy where the hooded and gagged victims were tied to the end of anti-aircraft guns in front of some 10,000 spectators.

The escapee then recalled how the guns were fired one by one, saying: “The musicians just disappeared each time the guns were fired into them. Their bodies were blown to bits, totally destroyed, blood and bits flying everywhere.”

Afterwards, Hee Yeon said tanks moved in and ran over the pieces of the victims’ bodies.

She added: “The tracks of the tanks were run over the remains and blood repeatedly, over and over again and made to grind the remains, to smash them into the ground until there was nothing left.”

Left feeling “desperately ill” after the grim spectacle, she later decided to escape the country.

When her father, Colonel Wui Yeon Lim, 51, passed away, she and her family fled the hermit kingdom to China in 2015 before arriving in South Korea capital Seoul last year.

The family paid people smugglers to drive them across the border to China, before travelling on to South Korea via Laos.

And despite her family’s relative privilege, Hee Yeon said she witnessed many other “terrible things” in her home city of Pyongyang — including dictator Kim’s use of teenage sex slaves.

US President Donald Trump (left) has dubbed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “Rocket Man”. Picture: AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

She said officials came to her school to pick out teen schoolgirls to work at the dictator’s homes.

The escapee said they would only choose the prettiest girls, who were taught to feed him caviar and massage his body. If they refused they would “disappear”, she said.

Hee Yeon — who has met the terrifying despot — also told how he would gorge on imported delicacies like caviar and Chinese “Bird’s Nest Soup” which can cost $3300 per kilo.

In 2016, a shock report estimated tyrant Kim had executed 340 people since coming to power in 2011.

Of those killed, nearly half were senior officers in his own government, military and the ruling Korean Worker’s Party.

The brutal punishments meted out for “crimes” including having a “bad attitude”, treachery and for one poor party member slouching in a meeting.

In his debut speech to the United Nations on Monday, US President Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” after referring to Kim as “Rocket Man”.

The Institute for National Security Strategy — a South Korean think tank — released “The misgoverning of Kim Jong-un’s five years in power” detailing how he uses executions to tighten his grip on power.

Earlier this year, the country’s top schools official was executed by firing squad after he exercised a “bad attitude” at the country’s Supreme People’s Assembly in June.

In May 2015, Kim had defence minister Hyon Yong-chol killed with an anti-aircraft gun at a military school in Pyongyang, in front of an audience which included his own family who were reportedly made to watch the slaughter.

Kim’s half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, was assassinated. Picture: AFP/Toshifumi Kitamura

Two years earlier, in 2013, Kim’s own uncle Jang Song-thaek was executed for trying to overthrow the government.

In February, South Korea’s spy agency claimed Kim brutally executed five senior officials with anti-aircraft guns because they made false reports which “enraged” him.

The National Intelligence Service made the claims in a private briefing to politicians just days after Kim’s estranged older half-brother Kim Jong-nam was poisoned in a suspected assassination believed to have been ordered by the dictator.

An investigation is ongoing but South Korea says it believes Kim Jong-un ordered the killing of his sibling on February 13 at Kuala Lumpur’s airport.

ooo

RUSSIA REBUKES TRUMP OVER NORTH KOREA

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he is “extremely concerned” after President Donald Trump told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday he was prepared to “totally destroy” North Korea.

Mr Lavrov said Russia, which shares a border with North Korea, believes negotiations and diplomacy are the only way to resolve a crisis over Pyongyang’s missile program.

“If you simply condemn and threaten, then we’re going to antagonise countries over whom we want to exert influence,” said Mr Lavrov.

Russia’s rebuke comes as Mr Trump hit out at former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton over Kim’s despotic regime, tweeting: “After allowing North Korea to research and build Nukes while Secretary of State (Bill C also), Crooked Hillary now criticizes.”

DAY one of the Jayde Kendall murder trial has wrapped up after the jury heard evidence from the 16-year-old’s father and brother.

Bruce Morrissey described his daughter as a quiet girl who was “determined to do her studies”.

“… She was very conscientious. She would always, always dedicate herself to her studies,” he said.

He said the teenager worked at McDonald’s since 2014 and was paying him every week “without fail” after he helped her buy a new car.

But he said she suffered from anxiety in 2013, which involved some self harm.

“She had cut herself a couple of times. I asked her about it and she did show me they were just like, scratches,” he said.

Mr Morrissey told how he sent Jayde two text messages while he waited outside McDonald’s for her to finish her shift. But she never made it to work that day.

Her younger brother, Brandon Morrissey, told a police officer in a recorded interview played to the jury that she had no reason to run away.

“She was like really happy with her family and that,” he said.

The trial continues tomorrow.

3PM: THREE women will give evidence that murder accused Brenden Bennetts strangled them during rough sex, a Supreme Court jury has been told.

Crown prosecutor Vicki Loury QC has finished her opening address to the jury in the trial of Bennetts, who is accused of killing 16-year-old Jayde Kendall two years ago.

Ms Loury revealed towards the end of her address that three women would give evidence about rough sex with Bennetts.

She said the women would talk about occasions “where he was having sex with them… where he put his hands around their throats and squeezed, strangled.”

Ms Loury has called her first witness in the case, which is Jayde’s father, Bruce Morrissey.

EARLIER: Jayde Kendall’s cause of death is a mystery, but the last person to see the Gatton schoolgirl alive has admitted he killed her.

Brenden Bennetts, 21, has pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court in Brisbane to manslaughter in relation to the death of Jayde on August 14, 2015.

But the prosecution has not accepted his plea and this morning opened its case for murder, a charge to which Bennetts has pleaded not guilty.

Crown prosecutor Vicki Loury QC told the jury 16-year-old Jayde’s day began like any other.

Her father took her to school in the morning, via McDonald’s to drop her uniform off ahead of a shift that afternoon.

“But sadly she would not make her shift at McDonald’s and she would never make it home, she died that day,” Ms Loury said.

“And she died at the hands of Brenden Bennetts.

“(He) drove her to an area south of Gatton… killed her by some unknown means and dropped her dead body in agricultural land.”

Jayde was reported missing when her father, Bruce Morrissey, went to pick her up from McDonald’s about 9pm that night and was told she never clocked on.

Thirteen days later, her body was found on a property at Upper Tenthill covered in grass.

She was still in her Lockyer District High School uniform.

“… Her body was too decomposed for the pathologist who performed the post-mortem on her to determine her cause of death,” Ms Loury said.

It is alleged Bennetts picked Jayde up from school in his red Toyota Corolla on August 14 after they exchanged a series of messages – including 48 pictures on Snapchat – since the day before.

Ms Loury said in a message on the day Jayde went missing, she indicated she was “nervous”.

“All those messages had been deleted from his (Bennetts’) phone, but the computer analyst was able to retrieve them,” she said.

The Snapchat pictures can’t be recovered due to the nature of the app, Ms Lourey said.

The court was told there was CCTV footage of Bennetts using Jayde’s ATM card to withdraw $70.

Data from Google Maps also places him in the area where her body was found, Ms Lourey said.

Ms Loury’s opening address to the jury will continue this afternoon.

The trial is expected to run for two to three weeks.

Henry Sapiecha

Berlin: A German nurse serving a life sentence for murdering two of his patients is believed to have killed at least 86 others entrusted to his care, officials said Monday, in what they described as an imagination-defying series of crimes.

The nurse, identified as Niels Hoegel, was sentenced to life in prison in February 2015, after a court in the northern town of Oldenburg found him guilty of administering overdoses of heart medication to some patients in an intensive care ward in Delmenhorst.

He was convicted of two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and causing bodily harm to patients and is serving his sentence.

During his trial, the former nurse confessed to intentionally inducing cardiac crises in 90 of his patients, 30 of whom he said had died. That prompted officials to launch an investigation into the deaths of some 130 of Hoegel’s former patients. The results were presented Monday in Oldenburg.

At least 84 of the convicted killer’s former patients were found to have died after suffering from injections of five different forms of medication, Johan Kuehme, chief of police in Oldenburg, told reporters.

Authorities are waiting for the results of another 41 toxicology reports, the results of which could drive the number of confirmed deaths even higher, he said.

“The realisation of what we were able to learn is horrifying,” Kuehme told reporters. “It defies any scope of the imagination.”

Former nurse Niels Hoegel stands in the courtroom wearing handcuffs and covering his face with a file at the district court in Oldenburg, Germany image www.crimefiles.net

Hoegel, now 40, told the court at the time that he had enjoyed trying to revive the patients. But his efforts did not always succeed, leaving some to become his victims.

Former nurse Niels Hoegel, accused of multiple murder and attempted murder of patients, covering his face with a file at the district court in Oldenburg,Germany

The special commission, launched in October 2014, combed through evidence that included more than 500 patient files. It based its conclusions in part on toxicology tests on the remains of 134 possible victims, who were exhumed to see if they contained traces of the chemicals the nurse had confessed to using.

It found that Hoegel had administered lethal injections to patients at a hospital in Oldenburg, where he worked from 1999 to 2001.

In October 2016, prosecutors brought charges against six employees of the hospital in Delmenhorst, on suspicion of negligent manslaughter, for failing to take action despite their suspicion regarding the nurse’s actions.

A related investigation into hospital personnel in Oldenburg is continuing, but no one has been charged.

Niels Hoegel, face covered, was convicted in 2015 of two murders and two attempted murders at a clinic in the northwestern town of Delmenhorst.Germany.

Copenhagen: The mystery surrounding the fate of Swedish journalist Kim Wall has deepened with the discovery of a headless body in the Baltic Sea near where she is believed to have died on a homemade submarine.

The female torso without legs, arms or a head was found by a member of the public, said the head of the Danish police investigation, Jens Moller Jensen.

“We have recovered the body … It is the torso of a woman,” Jensen told media. “An inquest will be conducted.”

He said it was “too early” to say if the body was that of 30-year-old Swedish reporter Wall, who went missing more than a week ago after a trip on the submarine owned by 46-year-old Peter Madsen, a Danish inventor.

Jensen said the body was discovered hours after Madsen told authorities that Wall had died on board in an accident, and that he buried her at sea at an unspecified location.

Madsen was arrested in connection with Wall’s disappearance after his submarine sank off Denmark’s eastern coast, an incident police believe was deliberate.

He denied any wrongdoing and initially told authorities he had dropped the reporter off on a island in Copenhagen’s harbour on August 10.

Madsen will continue to be held on preliminary manslaughter charges, police said.

Madsen was known for financing his submarine project through crowdfunding. The first launch of his 40-tonne, nearly 18-metre-long UC3 Nautilus in 2008 made international headlines.

Wall’s family earlier told The Associated Press that she had worked in many dangerous places as a journalist and it was unimaginable “something could happen … just a few miles from the childhood home”.

Before his arrest, Madsen appeared on Danish television to discuss the submarine’s sinking and his rescue. The submarine was found 22 feet below sea level and was brought ashore shortly after it sank.

It was the journalist’s boyfriend who alerted authorities that the sub had not returned from a test run, police said.

Wall’s disappearance has riveted Scandinavia with the latest development raising more questions than it answers.

Madsen is due again in court next month. His lawyer, Betina Hald Engmark, told the Danish television network TV2 that her client was cooperating with police investigators and that he maintained that he was not guilty.

Madsen is known in Denmark as “Rocket Madsen,” an uncompromising builder of submarines and space rockets who was hoping to become the world’s first amateur space traveller riding in a homemade rocket.

For years he was able to build a community that offered helping hands and raised funds for his projects. But his temper caused conflicts with many of them, Thomas Djursing, a biographer, told BT, a Danish newspaper.

“He argues with every Tom, Dick and Harry,” Djursing said. “I’ve argued with him as well. But that’s what it’s like with people driven by deep passion.”

Wall’s friend and fellow journalist Victoria Greve, writing in the Swedish daily Expressen, commented on how improbable it was that a short day trip to Denmark would end up being the last reporting trip of her friend’s career.

“There’s a dark irony in Kim, who travelled to North Korea and reported from Haiti, should disappear in Denmark,” she wrote. “Perhaps it speaks to the vulnerability of female freelance journalists. To work alone and do everything.”

AP and the New York Times

Henry Sapiecha

The Spanish policeman, who shot and killed four terrorists as they attacked civilians with knives and an axe in the resort town of Cambrils, is a former special forces soldier who was working overtime.

The married father, who has not been named for security reasons, served with the Legion – an elite infantry unit of the Spanish army.

He was highly trained in firearms and marksmanship. After leaving the armed forces he joined the Catalan police force Mossos d’Esquadra, where he had hoped for a more stable and less dangerous life.

The officer was not meant to be on duty on Thursday night, but agreed to work overtime, to beef up security, after the attacks in Barcelona earlier that day.

As his patrol monitored the promenade in Cambrils, 120 kilometres from Barcelona, five terrorists drove into the resort intent on causing further death and destruction.

Driving at high speed, the jihadists ploughed a black Audi A3 into pedestrians on a promenade before crashing into a police checkpoint – overturning the vehicle and injuring one officer.

The terrorists, who were wearing fake suicide vests, then jumped out, armed with an axe and knives.

But using his army training and experience, the officer shot and killed four of them, probably saving dozens of lives.

The fifth terrorist got away and stabbed a woman in the neck before being shot dead by another officer.

The Audi A3 used in the Cambrils attack was photographed by a speed camera near Paris about a week before the atrocities in Spain, it has emerged.

French police found the photo while searching for possible accomplices, according to security sources.

Telegraph, London

Washington: US President Donald Trump issued a new threat to North Korea, saying the US military was “locked and loaded” as Pyongyang accused him of driving the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war and world powers expressed alarm.

The Pentagon said the United States and South Korea would proceed as planned with a joint military exercise in 10 days, an action sure to further antagonise North Korea.

Trump, vacationing at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort, again referred to North Korea’s leader in his latest bellicose remarks Friday evening Australia time. “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely,” he wrote on Twitter. “Hopefully Kim Jong Un [sic] will find another path!”

The term “locked and loaded,” popularised in the 1949 war film “Sands of Iwo Jima” starring American actor John Wayne, refers to preparations for shooting a gun.

Asked later by reporters to explain the remark, Trump said: “Those words are very, very easy to understand.”

Again referring to Kim, Trump added, “If he utters one threat … or if he does anything with respect to Guam or any place else that’s an American territory or an American ally, he will truly regret it, and he will regret it fast.”

In remarks to reporters after a meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Trump said the situation with North Korea was “very dangerous and it will not continue.”

“We will see what happens. We think that lots of good things could happen, and we could also have a bad solution,” he said.

Despite the tough rhetoric, Trump insisted that “nobody loves a peaceful solution better than President Trump.”

Trump said he thought US allies South Korea and Japan were “very happy” with how he was handling the confrontation.

The president, a wealthy businessman and former reality television personality, sent his tweet after North Korean state news agency, KCNA, said in a statement that “Trump is driving the situation on the Korean peninsula to the brink of a nuclear war.”

Guam, the Pacific island that is a US territory, posted emergency guidelines on Friday to help residents prepare for any potential nuclear attack after a threat from North Korea to fire missiles in its vicinity.

Guam is home to a US air base, a Navy installation, a Coast Guard group and roughly 6000 US military personnel. KCNA said on Thursday the North Korean army would complete plans in mid-August to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land in the sea (30-40 km) from Guam.

Trump called the governor of Guam, Eddie Baza Calvo. “We are with you a thousand percent. You are safe,” Trump told Calvo, who posted a video of him speaking with the president on Facebook.

Washington wants to stop Pyongyang from developing nuclear missiles that could hit the United States. North Korea sees its nuclear arsenal as protection against the United States and its partners in Asia.

Trump said he was considering additional sanctions on North Korea, adding that they would be “very strong.” He gave no details and did not make clear whether he meant unilateral or multilateral sanctions.

US officials have said new US steps that would target Chinese banks and firms doing business with Pyongyang are in the works, but these have appeared to be put on hold to give Beijing time to show it is serious about enforcing new UN sanctions.

Trump said he did not want to talk about diplomatic “back channels” with North Korea after US media reports that Joseph Yun, the US envoy for North Korea policy, has engaged in diplomacy for several months with Pak Song Il, a senior diplomat at Pyongyang’s UN mission, on the deteriorating relations and the issue of Americans imprisoned in North Korea.

But Daniel Russel, the former top US diplomat for East Asia until April, said this so-called New York channel had been a relatively commonplace means of communication with North Korea over the years, and it was not a forum for negotiation.

“It’s never been a vehicle for negotiations and this doesn’t constitute substantive US-DPRK dialogue,” he said, using the acronym for North Korea’s formal name, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The annual joint US-South Korean military exercise, called Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, is expected to proceed as scheduled starting on August 21, said Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan, a Pentagon spokesman.

Trump’s latest comments were a continuation of days of incendiary rhetoric, including his warning on Tuesday that the United States would unleash “fire and fury” on Pyongyang if it threatened the United States.

Amid the heated words, South Koreans are buying more ready-to-eat meals that could be used in an emergency and the government is going to expand nationwide civil defense drills planned for August 23. Hundreds of thousands of troops and huge arsenals are arrayed on both sides of the tense demilitarised zone between the two Koreas.

Exclusive: Agency believes the fighters could have been trained to bomb Europe as revenge for military defeats in Middle East

Isis extremists in Raqqa in 2014. It is not known whether the militants will attempt to set up a new Syrian base when their ‘capital’ falls.

Interpol has circulated a list of 173 Islamic State fighters it believes could have been trained to mount suicide attacks in Europe in revenge for the group’s military defeats in the Middle East.

The global crime fighting agency’s list was drawn up by US intelligence from information captured during the assault on Isis territories in Syria and Iraq.

European counter-terror networks are concerned that as the Isis “caliphate” collapses, there is an increasing risk of determined suicide bombers seeking to come to Europe, probably operating alone.

There is no evidence that any of the people on the list, whose names the Guardian has obtained, have yet entered Europe, but the Interpol circulation, designed to see if EU intelligence sources have any details on the individuals, underlines the scale of the challenge facing Europe.

The list, sent out by the general secretariat of Interpol on 27 May, defines the group of fighters as individuals that “may have been trained to build and position improvised explosive devices in order to cause serious deaths and injuries. It is believed that they can travel internationally, to participate in terrorist activities.”

The data was originally collected by the US intelligence “through trusted channels”. The material was handed over to the FBI, which transmitted the list to Interpol for global sharing.

A note appended to the Interpol list circulated in Italy explains how the terrorist database was constructed, putting together the pieces of the puzzle from hundreds of elements, mainly gathered when Isis local headquarters were captured.

“The people,” the note says, “have been identified through materials found in the hiding places of Isil, the Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant.” The note adds that “it emerges that those subjects may have manifested willingness to commit a suicidal attack or martyrdom to support Islam”.

The list shows the suspects’ names, the date Isis recruited them, their last likely address including the mosque at which they have been praying while away fighting, their mother’s name and any photographs.

For each of the fighters, an ID was created to ensure that each member country in the Interpol network could integrate the data with local databases.

Interpol has asked its national partners for any information they might have about each name on the list, and any other background personal data they have on their files, such as border crossings, previous criminal offences, biometric data, passport numbers, activity on social media and travel history.

The information will then be included in Interpol’s ASF (automatic search facility) database in order to possibly put the names on a higher level watch list.

US intelligence is apparently confident about the reliability of the sources used to compile the list. But western counter-terrorism forces have said they face an uphill struggle identifying potential suspects, who have access to a mountain of false documents, double identities and fake passports.

Interpol stressed the list’s transmission came as part of its role circulating information between national crime-fighting agencies. “Interpol regularly sends alerts and updates to its national central bureaux (NCB) on wanted terrorists and criminals via our secure global police communications network,” a spokesman said. “It is the member country which provides the information that decides which other countries it can be shared with.

“The purpose of sending these alerts and updates is to ensure that vital policing information is made available when and where it is needed, in line with a member country’s request.”

A European counter-terrorism officer said one of the purposes of circulating the list around Europe was to identify those on it who might have been born and raised in European countries.

In 2015 the UN considered there were 20,000 foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria, of whom 4,000 were from Europe, but there has not previously been a specific list of those fighters including those born in the Middle East who have been identified as potential suicide bombers.

The speed with which Isis fighters are likely to attempt to reach Europe will depend on a range of issues including whether the group tries to set up a new base in Syria in the wake of the impending fall of Raqqa, its last major redoubt in north-west Syria. There is a growing suggestion that Isis fighters will shift south from Raqqa to the defensible territory stretching from Deir el-Zourez-Zor to Abu Kamal.

The jihadi group is currently struggling to come to terms with the loss of Mosul in northern Iraq following a battle that produced some of the most brutal fighting since the end of the second world war.

The parallel advance on Raqqa, the group’s other urban stronghold in the region, has been stalled partly due to the severity of the resistance being mounted against the Syrian Democratic Forces made up of an alliance of Kurds, Arabs and US Special forces.

US Army Col Ryan Dillon on Friday estimated there were around 2,000 Isis militants in the city, who he said were using civilians and children as human shields. The distance between SDF forces on the eastern side of the city and on the western fronts is now just under 2km.

The United Nations estimates that about 190,000 residents of Raqqa province have been displaced since April, including about 20,000 since the operation to seize the provincial capital began in early June.

US diplomats this week admitted that the SDF forces, due to their ethnic make-up, will be constrained from going south of Raqqa to pursue Isis as far as Deir Azzour, saying this may be the task of the Syrian forces under Bashar al Assad, or even Iranian-backed Shia militia.

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