News in Brief 02 August 2017 (AM)

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Aerial view of the western province of Herat, Afghanistan. Photo: UNAMA/Fardin Waezi

Top UN officials condemn deadly mosque attack in Afghanistan

A deadly assault on a Shia mosque in Afghanistan has been strongly condemned by the UN Secretary-General.

At least 31 people were killed and scores injured in the attack, which took place in the north-western city of Herat on Tuesday evening.

Two assailants entered the mosque during evening prayers, opening fire and detonating two improvised bombs.

In a statement issued by his Spokesperson, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said "attacks that deliberately target civilians are clear violations of fundamental human rights and international humanitarian law."

He pointed out that the incident occurred just one day after an attack against the Embassy of Iraq in the capital, Kabul, in which two people were killed and a third injured.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has also condemned the assault on the mosque in Herat.

Mission chief Tadamichi Yamamoto stated that there was "no justification whatever" for the attack, which deliberately targeted civilians at prayer.

Last year, there were four separate attacks against Shia mosques and religious gatherings in Afghanistan, according to the UN mission.

Medical supplies trucked into Syrian town for first time in three years

Nearly 30 tonnes of medicines and medical supplies have been delivered to Al-Qamishli in Syria, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced.

The UN agency said this marked the first time in three years that it was able to deliver supplies by road due to intense conflict and besiegement of the area.

The supplies, sufficient for 150,000 treatments, arrived in the north-eastern city on Tuesday.

They will support health services provision to people displaced from three governorates in the region.

So far this year, WHO and its partners have delivered more than seven million medical treatments across Syria.

FAO using mobile technology in cash-for-work programme in Iraq

Participants in a cash-for-work programme in Iraq will receive their payments safely and securely, thanks to mobile technology, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported on Wednesday.

Some 12,000 conflict-affected people in 30 villages in four governorates are taking part in the scheme, which is funded by Belgium.

It will allow local farmers to restart or expand their activities while also providing job opportunities for people returning home, according to FAO.

The UN agency has partnered with a mobile data services operator to facilitate payments.

After completing a certain number of work days, participants will receive a code by text message which will allow them to collect their wages from any certified mobile money transfer agent.

Dianne Penn, United nations.

Duration: 2’53″

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