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Berlin not aware of U.S. drone strikes from German bases

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany said on Friday it had no knowledge of U.S. drone strikes being directed from its territory after media reports alleged that the U.S. military was steering attacks on Islamist guerrillas in Africa from German bases. The use of drones is highly controversial in Germany, where an aversion to military conflict has prevailed since World War Two, and the reports sparked a strong response from opposition parties hoping to score points against popular Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of a September election.

US general stripped of post amid sex claims

A US army general responsible for operations in east Africa has been stripped of his command amid reports of sexual misconduct, a Pentagon official confirmed on Friday. Major General Ralph Baker, the commander of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, was relieved of his duties by the outgoing head of US Africa Command (AFRICOM) General Carter F. Ham, on March 28. Baker was replaced due to "misconduct that caused a loss of confidence in his ability to command," Pentagon spokesman Major Rob Firman said.

Pentagon to keep Africa Command headquarters in Europe

* Some members of Congress had sought relocation to U.S. * Africa command will stay in Germany with European command * Pentagon swayed by operational needs, commander's advice WASHINGTON, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has decided against moving the U.S. military's headquarters overseeing Africa from Germany to the United States, concluding the benefits of staying in Europe - closer to African hot spots - are worth the extra cost, officials say.
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