The Nigerian army conducted two successful raids this week of multiple villages held by Boko Haram Islamist fighters in the northeastern part of the state, officials said Thursday. More than 800 hostages were rescued while three militants were killed and one was captured alive, officials said.
Boko Haram has been wreaking havoc on northeast Nigeria since 2009 when the terrorist group launched an insurgency, trying to create an Islamic state for itself in the area. Since then, at least 17,000 people have been killed, thousands of women and children have been kidnapped, and more than 2.6 million people have fled their homes, according to human rights groups. The crisis has been called "unprecedented." Lauren Hansen
Germany's Merkel is a 'convinced trans-Atlanticist' just speaking 'honestly' about U.S.-German ties, spokesman says
On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel sent a shiver through German-U.S. relations when she told a packed beer tent of her fellow Christian Democrats in Munich that from her experience at the G7 and NATO summits, "I can only say that we Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands — of course in friendship with the United States of America, in friendship with Great Britain, and as good neighbors wherever that is possible also with other countries, even with Russia." On Monday, her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Merkel was just being honest about differences with the Trump administration.
"The chancellor's words stand on their own — they were clear and comprehensible," Seibert said. Merkel is "a deeply convinced trans-Atlanticist," he told reporters in Berlin, and "those of you who have reported on the chancellor for a long time will know how important German-American relations are to her." Merkel will "continue to work to strengthen" this "firm pillar of our foreign and security policy," he said, but "because trans-Atlantic relations are so important to this chancellor, it is right from her viewpoint to speak out honestly about differences." President Trump and Merkel disagree on climate change and NATO commitments, among other things.
Merkel, who grew up in Soviet-controlled East Germany, has been a longtime support of the U.S. and backer of strong ties with the U.S., so her comments that Germany's ability to rely on the U.S. and Britain is "over to a certain extent" were seen as a blow to the post-World War II order. David Frump explained on Sunday that splitting apart Germany and the U.S. has been a key, long-term goal of the Soviet Union and then Russia under President Vladimir Putin, and argued that Trump just achieved what Russia has been unable to. "Putin could not have achieved out of this trip more exactly what he wanted if he'd been paying for it," he said. Watch below, or read his longer argument at The Atlantic. Peter Weber
— AM Joy w/Joy Reid (@amjoyshow) May 28, 2017
On Sunday, Takuma Sato won the 101st Indianapolis 500, beating three-time winner Helio Castroneves by three car lengths in a wild, crash-filled race, with Ed Jones coming in third. Sato, the first Japanese driver to win the Indy 500, is a 40-year-old former Formula One driver who had won just one of his 123 IndyCar races. "Hopefully, the crowd enjoyed it," Sato said "It's beautiful. I dreamed of something like this since I was 12." A number of one-time race leaders were sidelined by seized-up engines and spectacular crashes, the most memorable being Scott Dixon's car being thrown through the air after being by by Jay Howard's car. There was a lot of destruction but no serious injuries in the race. You can watch the Howard-Dixon crash, with ESPN commentary, below. Peter Weber
Defense Secretary James Mattis warned of grave consequences for failure to resolve the United States' differences with North Korea via diplomacy while speaking on CBS Sunday.
"A conflict with North Korea would probably be the worst kind of fighting in most people's lifetimes," Mattis said in a Face the Nation interview. "This regime is a threat to the region, to Japan, to South Korea. And in the event of war, they would bring danger to China and to Russia as well," he added. "But the bottom line is it would be a catastrophic war if this turns into a combat if we're not able to resolve this situation through diplomatic means." Pyonyang claimed to test an anti-aircraft missile Sunday morning, its third weapons test in as many weeks.
In the same conversation, Mattis described pursuing a more aggressive approach to the fight against the Islamic State. "The bottom line is we are going to move in an accelerated and reinforced manner, throw them on their back foot. We have already shifted from attrition tactics where we shove them from one position to another in Iraq and Syria, to annihilation tactics where we surround them," he said. Watch an excerpt of his comments below. Bonnie Kristian
Sec. Mattis: War with North Korea would be "catastrophic" pic.twitter.com/6tg4pOqkY5
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) May 28, 2017
A man named Willie Cory Godbolt confessed Sunday to fatally shooting eight people in three homes in the towns of Brookhaven and Bogue Chitto, Mississippi. Among the dead was a sheriff’s deputy called to investigate after a neighbor reported a disturbance. The identities of the victims have not been released.
"I ain't fit to live, not after what I done," Godbolt confessed to a local paper after he was arrested. "Not in y'all eyes, not in nobody else's eyes." Godbolt said he did not intend to hurt the deputy — "My pain wasn't designed for him. He was just there" — but planned to provoke police into killing him: "Suicide by cop was my intention."
A 16-year-old boy Godbolt took hostage escaped unharmed, and law enforcement are expected to bring charges soon. Godbolt is believed to have been disputing custody of his children when he attacked. Bonnie Kristian
"The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday in Munich in comments understood to reference Europe's reliance on the United States. "I've experienced that in the last few days," she continued. "We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands" and "fight for our own destiny."
When President Trump met with fellow NATO leaders in Brussels on Thursday, he reiterated his critique that allies are too dependent on the United States, calling their failure to make meet a pledged 2 percent of GDP defense spending target unfair to the U.S.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary James Mattis on Sunday maintained Trump is supportive of the alliance. "I think when President Trump chooses to go to NATO personally and stand there alongside the other more than two dozen nations in NATO, that was his statement, not words, actions," he said in a CBS interview. Bonnie Kristian
British police on Sunday arrested a 25-year-old man in connection to the suicide bombing in Manchester that killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert Monday. This is the 14th arrest linked to the attack; 12 people remain in custody.
On Saturday, police released photos of Salman Abedi, the Manchester-born man responsible for the bombing. "We are gathering a detailed picture of Abedi as the investigation develops and now need people to tell us if they have any information about his movement," said an official statement.
British Home Secretary Amber Rudd has also implemented a temporary exclusion order, requiring special vetting for "suspected Islamic terrorists" seeking to return to the U.K. until it is certain Abedi does not have accomplices still on the loose. "The operation is still at full tilt," Rudd said, with about 1,000 people working the case. Bonnie Kristian
The Department of Homeland Security "might" prohibit laptops as carry-on items for all international flights in and out of the United States, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Sunday in an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.
The United States being a "free and open society" is "one of our vulnerabilities," Kelly said. "There's a real threat — numerous threats against aviation. That's really the thing that they're obsessed with, the terrorists: the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it's a U.S. carrier, particularly if it's full of mostly U.S. folks." Electronic carry-ons are already limited for flights from 10 Muslim-majority countries in the Mideast and North Africa.
Kelly also said he would "likely" expand nationwide a new TSA policy of requiring passengers to more substantially unpack their carry-on bags at the checkpoint, separating food and paper items into different bins. A 2015 DHS investigation found TSA officers failed to detect 95 percent of explosives and weapons passed through airport security in an internal test. Terrorism experts say the long lines caused by slow TSA checkpoints are themselves a security risk. Bonnie Kristian