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Ethiopian army clearing TPLF from two northern regions, says government

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Ethiopia’s national armed forces are still in the process of clearing rebellious forces from the northern Tigray region from neighboring Amhara and Afar, government spokeswoman Billene Seyoum said on Tuesday.

Billene rejected a statement by the TPLF, the party that controls Tigray, that it had conducted a strategic withdrawal from the Amhara and Afar regions. She presented what had unfolded as a series of military victories by the national forces against the TPLF.

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The TPLF said on Monday its forces had withdrawn from Amhara and Afar, presenting the move as a “decisive opening for peace” and writing to the United Nations setting out a series of demands.

“As we have seen in recent weeks, the national defense forces together with allied forces from the Afar region and the Amhara region have made considerable gains in reversing the occupation by TPLF of many Amhara and Afar towns,” Billene said during a news conference live-streamed on YouTube.

“We’re still in the final stages of this latest operation …The aim was to ensure that TPLF forces were cleared out of the Amhara and Afar regions,” she said.

“This is something that is still being undertaken because there are still some elements within certain pockets that need to be fully cleared out.”

The 13-month-old war in Africa’s second most populous nation has destabilized an already fragile region, sent 60,000 refugees into Sudan, pulled Ethiopian soldiers away from war-ravaged Somalia and drawn in armed forces from neighboring Eritrea.

Read more: Freelance journalist accredited to AP detained in Ethiopia

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US considering moving troops from Western Europe to Eastern Europe: NATO diplomat

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The United States is considering transferring some troops stationed in Western Europe to Eastern Europe in the coming weeks, a NATO diplomat told Reuters, amid escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

“This has to do with American troops that are already in Europe,” the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirming a New York Times report that said US President Joe Biden was considering sending US troops to the Baltics and Eastern European allies.

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NATO said on Monday it was putting forces on standby and reinforcing eastern Europe with more ships and fighter jets, in what Russia denounced as an escalation of tensions over Ukraine.

The diplomat said the potential troop movements would be gradual and that any filling of NATO gaps on its eastern flank could take place in the coming weeks.

Read more: From Kyiv, top US diplomat warns Russia against Ukraine aggression

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Several wounded in shooting in German city; gunman dead

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A lone gunman wounded several people at a lecture theater in the southwestern German city of Heidelberg on Monday, police said.

Police said in a brief statement that the perpetrator was dead, but didn’t give details of how that happened. They had earlier asked people on Twitter to avoid the Neuenheimer Feld area of Heidelberg, where the city’s university campus is located.

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Police didn’t specify how many people were wounded, or how seriously, and there was no information on their identities or that of the suspected shooter. The university’s press office declined to give any details on the shooting and referred all inquiries to police.

German news agency dpa cited unidentified security sources as saying that the gunman killed himself.

Police said the weapon used in the shooting was a long-barreled firearm.

Heidelberg is located south of Frankfurt and has about 160,000 inhabitants. Its university is one of Germany’s best-known.

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Aramco CEO says oil demand nearing pre-pandemic levels: Report

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Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Al Nasser said that the demand for oil is nearing pre-pandemic levels, Asharq Business reported in a tweet on Monday.

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EIG-led investors in Aramco oil pipelines hire banks for dual-tranche bonds

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