While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 4

Syrian civil defence officials take away a body, following an overnight raid by US special operations forces in Syria. PHOTO: AFP

ISIS leader Quraishi kills himself during Syria raid, US says

The leader of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) died when he blew himself and family members up during a US military raid in Syria, President Joe Biden said on Thursday, dealing a blow to the militant group’s efforts to reorganise as a guerilla force after losing large swathes of territory.

Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi, had led ISIS since the death in 2019 of its founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was also killed when he detonated explosives during a raid by US commandos.

As US forces approached Quraishi in north-west Syria overnight, he blew himself up also killing members of his own family, including women and children, according to Biden and US officials.

The blast was so big it blew bodies out of the three-storey building where Quraishi was and into surrounding streets in the town of Atmeh, US officials said, blaming ISIS for all civilian casualties.


Four aides quit amid tumult in UK PM's premiership

Four of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's closest aides resigned on Thursday and his finance minister criticised him over a barb he made about the main opposition leader, in a tumultuous day for his government.

Johnson's premiership is facing a growing crisis in the wake of anger over a series of alcohol-fuelled parties held at his Downing Street office and residence during coronavirus lockdowns, a scandal which followed a series of other missteps.

On Thursday, his chief of staff Dan Rosenfield, his principal private secretary Martin Reynolds, his director of communications Jack Doyle and his head of policy Munira Mirza all resigned.


Russia may stage video to create pretext for Ukraine war, says US

US intelligence officials believe Russia has formed a plan to fabricate a pretext for an invasion of Ukraine, potentially by producing propaganda videos showing a staged attack, according to a senior Biden administration official.

Russia is formulating several options to give it an excuse for an invasion of Ukraine, the official said.

One is a fabricated video showing the graphic aftermath of an explosion, including equipment appearing to belong to Ukraine or allied nations, according to the official, who requested anonymity.


Mark Zuckerberg loses US$29b in a day as Meta shares crash

Mark Zuckerberg lost US$29 billion (S$39 billion) in net worth on Thursday as Meta Platforms' stock marked a record one-day plunge following a disappointing earnings forecast that shook the global tech landscape.

Meta’s stock fell 26 per cent, erasing more than US$200 billion in the biggest ever single-day market value wipeout for a US company.

That pulled down founder and chief executive officer Zuckerberg’s net worth to US$85 billion, according to Forbes.


Egypt eliminate hosts Cameroon in Cup of Nations semi-final

Goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal pulled off two spectacular saves as Egypt edged hosts Cameroon 3-1 in the penalty shootout to reach the final of Africa Cup of Nations following a goalless draw after extra time on Thursday.

Cameroon converted only one of their four spot-kicks, with Abou Gabal blocking two of the strikes before Clinton Njie missed his attempt. Egypt converted all three of their kicks.

Egypt will be aiming to win a record-extending eighth Cup of Nations title when they face Senegal in Sunday's final.


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