iraq says the offensive to recapture ramadi from isil has begun. shia militias say they are leading the charge. ♪ i'm lauren taylor this is al jazeera live from london. also coming up. malaysian investigators dig up the remains of dozens of people thought to be trafficked migrants. the oil flows again as agreement is reached in nigeria's fuel dispute, but power shortages continue. and rivers of fire flow from a volcano in ecuador's gallop
goes islands. iraq's military has launched an operation to drive islamic state of iraq and the levant from anbar province. the shia militias say they don't think the plan will take long. it takes up much of western iraq. anbar's capitol, ramadi fell to isil just over a week ago, a major defeat for iraqi forces. imran khan reports. >> reporter: iraqi security forces gather on the edge of ramadi preparing to retake the city which fell to fighters from the islamic state of iraq and the levant more than a week ago. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: it's likely to be a
long operation. there are reports of isil fighters preparing to meet government security forces. they have backing from shia militia, many of which are sup pored by iran. the iraqi army is also gearing up for other operations with isil in control of border crossings from syria into anbar, it is feared that isil fighters could push into baghdad. to prevent that this man is securing the outskirs -- outskirts of the capitol. >> translator: we're fighting a psychological war. isil have an effective media campaign against us. we have been accused of retreating. we are not. we are now backing up our troops and preparing for the fall of ramadi. >> reporter: these troops are
primarily shia militia. each militia have its own identify but fight under this iraqi banner. fortifying baghdad comes with unique challenges. this is the last safe to cross from anbar into baghdad with the operation now underway it's likely that we're see more scenes like this. fears of what comes next are common here. >> translator: as long as we sunnis are marginalized the fight will take a long time. there are sunni forces willing to fight and i would join that fight if the government accepts us. >> reporter: iraqi security forces have opened and closed this bridge at random, concerned that isil fighters will enter bagdad pretending to be displaced people. they have a huge challenge on their hands, but it's not just within anbar province it's also securing baghdad as well. many say if baghdad falls, isil have won, but there are other
significant challenges that includes finding homes for these people who are fleeing the violence and making sure that they get back home eventually. syria's air force has reportedly carried out an attack on a military base in the northeast of the country. the state news agency said 140 isil fighters were killed in the operation. isil seized the base in august after fierce fighting that left hundreds dead on both sides. activists say several people have been injured after syrian planes attacked a refugee camp near damascus. isil fighters also attacked the camp last month. ♪ malaysia police have begun
the grim task of exhuming the bodies of expected trafficking victims from jungle graves. they were discovered on thailand's border. florence looi has been to one of the camps and sent this report. >> reporter: in a shallow unmarked grave a forensic's team is carefully trying to unearth what is buried here. they soon find something, human remains wrapped in what was probably once a white cloth. >> translator: we're still digging up the graves. and exhuming the remains, so we still can't tell you how many bodies there are, except the ones we found today. >> reporter: the police suspect there are almost 40 graves in the area. they are likely to be migrants or refugees being trafficked into malaysia. about 200 meters from the bury site is a camp it's inhabitants long gone. authorities believe this camp has been abandoned for at least
two years. you can see it was probably big enough to hold about 200 people. all around the camp there are signs that people lived here. plates crockery basins thrown into a pit. pieces of cloth that may have been surcontained and crudely built cages where trafficking syndicates kept their cargo. to prevent escape they used barbed wire. the camp is on a hill it is one of 28 camps found by the malaysia police over the weekend, less than a month after thai authorities made a similar discovery. the majority of refugees are thought to be rohingya. they escaped by sea and are then brought over land through thailand and malaysia. thousands of them are thought to
be adrift at sea after police in thailand started cracking down on human trafficking. malaysia police denied the existence of thef camps at first, but now they are investigating what happened. there's no indication that the human trafficking syndicates have been broken up. saudi arabia says one civilian has been killed in houthi shelling. five others were injured. across the border in northern yemen, seven members of the same family were killed by saudi-lead air strikes. two thirds of yemen's population do not have access to clean drinking water. around 30 million yemenese were without drinking water before the war began this march, and an extra 3 million have been affected since the fighting
started. >> people are resorts to any means they have able. some people have been digging wells in their sort yards and trying to find whatever water they can. others have been accepting help from aid agencies where they can get it in. and some people also resort to buying water from water trucks. the problem with that though is with reduced fuel supplies and available water, the price has gone up and up and up and now most people cannot afford to do that. water born disease has been present in yemen for sometime now, but we haven't gotten to the point of a horrific outbreak. we have been in the country now for more than 30 years and have worked with local communities to pump and treat and make available water supplies but we have never seen anything like that. egyptian authorities have reopened the rafa crossing for
two days allowing stranded palestinians to return to the gaza strip. egypt closed it last october after a bombing in the sinai peninsula killed many soldiers. a "washington post" reporter has gone on trial in tehran. the trial was held behind closed doors. iran's state news agency says he has yet to enter a plea. the u.s. has criticized the lack of transparency in this case. the foreign editor of the "washington post" says the case is ludicrous and without foundation. >> there is just nothing at all that is clearer in this case. from the moment jason was detained nine months ago, we have heard almost nothing from the iranian authorities.
what we have heard sounds absurd and ludicrous to us the idea that jason was doing anything more than what he does as a journalist. we're confident that he did nothing wrong; that he would be acquitted in a fair court, and we very much hope that's what we'll see emerge now. a policeman in kenya has been killed by suspected al-shabab fighters. the police were ambushed by fighters in a village, the somali-based armed group says they killed 25 police officers in the attack. the spokesman of the kenyan interior ministry says ensuring the entire country is secure from al-shabab is a huge challenge. >> what happens yesterday evening, there were some police officers on patrol in the area and they were ambushed by suspected al-shabab militia. there was extensive fire and in
the process some officers were injured. others came in to rescue them and as well were ambushed by the same group. but by the time the whole thing was over two officers were injured and three were [ inaudible ] injured. but said one of the officers has passed away. almost on a daily basis there are clashes almost on a daily basis. so this is the sort of war where even one or two individuals will go on a raid somewhere, so you can't have police officers in all corners of the country. but there has been a systemic effort to improve the situation in the area and there are quite a number of attempts that were prevented or thwarted. the fire that swept through a rest home in central china has killed 38 people and injured six. the blaze broke out in an a
apartment building used as a private rest home in central china. >> reporter: is all that remains of the happy and healthy garden care home where so many perished. almost all of the building was destroyed. suggesting cheap materials were used in its construction. this is one of the poorest areas in china. the evening meal had been eaten, and most residents had gone to bed, some were very frail and so would have had little chance of escape. many made it to safety but by tuesday night rescue crewed were involved in an operation to recover bodies that in the most part had been burned beyond recognition. it's only two years since 11 people died in a fire at another home for the elderly. the cause of the latest blaze is still not known. but china's president has ordered an investigation, promising anyone found
responsible will be punished. the police have now cordoned off the area survivors said that conditions inside the care home were bad. many of the dead were in a dormitory reserved for the infirm. they couldn't move without help. and there wasn't much help once the fire broke out. still ahead, the migrants who's desperate journeys finished where it started. and the financial black hole has cast new doubt over russia's space program. ♪
♪ the top stories here on al jazeera. security forces in iraq have begun a major operation to take back control of anbar province from isil. they are being supported by shia militias who helped to push out the armed group from other parts of the country. 140 isil fighters are reported to have been killed after the syrian government attacked an isil strong hold. and malaysian police are exhuming bodies from graves found in the border with thailand. the u.n. has pledged more aid for the central african republic. jacky rowland reports. >> reporter: the extra money pledged by the european union is
a recognition that the crisis in the central african republic is far from over. the money will be spent on humanitarian aid and promoting security and availability. >> we're not a shamed to ask for this assistance because we don't have the means. we have begun to give hope to the people of the central african republic. >> reporter: the central african republic remains volatile. french and african police oversee a fragile police. nearly half a million people are homeless in the country. the muslim minority in particular are paying the price of the violence. another half million people have fled over the border to chad cameroon and the
democratic republic of the congo. here they are living in refugee camps. this is the lean season in central africa and food stocks are dangerously low. mothers and their children are most at risk of starvation. health workers say infant mortality has reached crisis levels and it's still months until the next harvest. when there's a lack of food and other basic supplies people tend to move to where they believe they can get access to the things they need. this kind of competition over scarce resources in a tense place like the central african republic may lead to further conflict. some of the armed groups have begun releasing children they recruited to fight with them. but the risk of renewed fighting is never far away. the central african republic has few natural resources so it's not high on the international
agenda agenda, without coordinated action now, this conflict may rumble on claiming more innocent lives. the u.n. secretary general has called on the europe yoon -- union to do more to help migrants. 145 senegal ezese have arrived back home. they tried at least once to cross the mediterranean sea, but failed. they were provided with flights and money to get home. >> translator: we took the boat once to cross the sea to go to italy. they caught us at sea and took us to prison in very bad conditions. the conditions there aren't good for anyone. >> translator: i took a first boat and we were lost at sea for five days the police came to get us out of the water afterwards.
i tried a second time, but three people died during that trip. in burundi an anti government protester has been killed in the capitol. protesters spread to more neighborhoods in the capitol and outside, but they are being met by riot police with guns. >> reporter: they know this won't protect them from bullets and tear gas, but protesters in burundi say there's little they can do so they keep going, and then -- [ gunfire ] >> reporter: -- in a matter of seconds they are dispersed. but they are waiting for the police to move on. [ gunfire ] >> translator: the police are shooting at us. they are arresting people. they are just shooting and shooting. >> reporter: they sing no to president pierre nkurunziza's
running for a third term. >> translator: i don't want pierre nkurunziza at all. we say no to him! >> reporter: the police seem to know what the protesters are planning. as soon as the riot police arrived, people ran away. they are now slowly coming back on to the streets. they say they want to march into the city center. but the police are stopping them. it seems the protests are spreading beyond the capitol. on monday at least one person was shot and killed in the south of burundi. the president says he won't give up plans to run for a third term which is against the constitution. libya's u.n. recognized government has been forced to abandon a session after protesters set fire to a car. it's unclear what the protesters were demanding. the fire is the latest disruption for libya's elected parliament hi has struggled to
keep authority over an increasingly fragmented country. vladimir putin's hopes of restores its space program has suffered a new blow. they have uncovered about $1.8 billion worth of financial irregularities at the international space agency. it follows recent rocket launch failures that have shaken international faith in the program. let's go to charles stratford in moscow. what do we know about this latest scandal, charles? >> reporter: well as you say, this is just the latest in a series of scandals disasters that have hit attempts to reform russia's space industry. the state auditor came out with
a few more details. it is the federal space program, the federal space agency. the majority of these misappropriation of funds, these allegations being made as you say, being directed towards the building of this new cosmo drone in the east of the country. it's being built as a means of replacing russia's current need to use a former space station in kazakhstan. it is planned to have the capacity for around 300,000 people. there are plans for hotels and training centers, and even future space tourism. president putin himself went there in september and pledged an additional $1 billion. but that came with a stanch
warning that there would be zero tolerance towards inpro priority and fund misuse and it was only month later that the head of the largest contractor was arrested for stealing around $36 million in state money, and since then there have been more than 200 prosecutions and 20 criminal cases on the building of this project. so it's not the first time, but it's a huge embarrassment for president putin and the country. >> what does it all mean for the future of the industry? >> reporter: well as you said in the intro, there have been difficulties in reforming the industry in recent years. at least two incident in the last months accidents of russian spacecraft. the deputy prime minister here has described the situation as being indicative of what he described as a moral decline in the management of the space
program here. one analyst quoted in the local newspaper has made the statement describing the decline of russia's space program as being the equivalent to the decline of the roman empire. so it shows you how much emphasis is putting on this program. the state doma has already given clearance and given approval for the closure for the federal state agency and the building of a new state coordination. up until now the building of space materials have has been contracted out, the handling of wages has been handled by other people, so there are plans for this new state space agency to be started out. the deputy prime minister has said they will need at least two or three years to get these reforms really going again, and try to recuperate, and he says
that is absolutely vital if russia is to maintain its approximately 40% share of global satellite launches in relation to stiff competition obviously from the americans and private space enterprises globally. >> thank you very much indeed. thousands of russian troops have begun military maneuvers as part of a long-scale exercise. it involves hundreds of aircraft and anti-aircraft missile systems. this is one of several exercises which have been held since russia annexed crimea last year. the aim is to develop a command system in the field. and the u.s. and eight other european nations are also taking part in military exercises in northern europe it involves about 100 u.s. fighter jets and 4,000 people is aimed at testing cooperation among ak tick
nations near russia. at least three people have been killed and a dozen more are missing in the wake of flash flooding in the state of texas. more than a thousand homes have been destroyed, and 24 counties have been declared disaster zones. a volcano has been resuperintendented threatening a rare species of pink inguinas. an agreement has been reached in nigeria that could end a serious fuel crisis. but power cuts across africa's biggest oil producer may take longer to fix. >> reporter: it's revision time for this boy and his friends. the crucial end of session examinations are here. they must up their grade in order to progress.
with no electricity at home or in their classes, they are forced to revise their notes in an unusual environment, under street lamps on a major highway. >> i'm here in order to read my lecture notes because there is no electricity in our area. here there's enough electricity. we are facing the radical activities of [ inaudible ], but there's no electricity. >> reporter: a chronic power shortage across the country is pushing students like him to take desperate measures. a wrong turn by a truck could be disastrous here. the students remain here to read despite the -- risks and distractions but they're not sure how long it will be before these streets are plunged into darkness. teachers say students grades are falling along with the education
sector. >> it affects the quality of education they are getting, and it also affects the outcome, coming from the students. it has impacted on teaching in such a way that it has affected research most of what the teachers are teaching the students is coming from the research conducted by the teachers themselves. >> reporter: africa's biggest oil producer currently imports most of its refined petroleum. the government said electricity generation hit an all time low for a population of 170 million people. it blames sabotage of oil and gas pipelines as well as oil workers strike. with chronic shortage of petrol and diesel most places including hospitals are finding it difficult to deliver services. in a few days a new government will be sworn in. it will then have to deal with
many challenges from corruption to an energy crisis security to infrastructure decay. yet many nighians are hopeful for change. plenty more news for you on our website, aljazeera.com. ♪ ♪ dangerous flooding hits big parts of the south people have lost their lives and homes are washed out as the streets turn to rivers. an american journalist on trial in iran for spying. but the case is being heard behind closed doors. and a day at the beach turns into chaos when a bounce house goes air born with children inside.