World

Huge US bomb kills 36 ISIS militants

At least 36 militants killed as US drops largest non-nuclear bomb on ISIS target in Afghanistan

JALALABAD, AFGHANISTAN: The US military's largest non-nuclear bomb killed at least 36 militants as it destroyed a deep tunnel complex of the Islamic State group, Afghan officials said yesterday, ruling out any civilian casualties.

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (Moab) bomb - also called the "Mother Of All Bombs" - hit ISIS hideouts in Achin district in eastern Nangarhar province on Thursday.

"As a result of the bombing, key Daesh (ISIS) hideouts and a deep tunnel complex were destroyed and 36 ISIS fighters were killed," the defence ministry said in a statement.

US President Donald Trump had earlier called the mission "very, very successful".

The Afghan presidential palace said precautions were taken to avoid civilian casualties.

The huge bomb, delivered via an MC-130 transport plane, has a blast yield equivalent to 11 tons of TNT.

"The GBU-43/B is the largest non-nuclear bomb ever deployed in combat," US Air Force spokesman, Colonel Pat Ryder, said.

Achin district governor Esmail Shinwari said the bomb landed in the Momand Dara area of Achin district.

"The explosion was the biggest I have ever seen. Towering flames engulfed the area," Mr Shinwari told AFP.

An Afghan militant source told AFP from an undisclosed location that locals had described the ground shaking "like an earthquake", with people being knocked unconscious by the blast.

"People have started leaving the area, fearing more bombings," he said.

UNCERTAINTY

The Pentagon's announcement of the attack drove markets down, with Asian bourses headed south following overnight losses on Wall Street.

The assault came only a week after Mr Trump ordered missile strikes against Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump has said he is keeping "all options" on the table to stop North Korea's nuclear programme, as speculation mounts that Pyongyang may soon hold another nuclear test.- AFP

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