Pakistan attack: Taliban militants storm agricultural college in Peshawar

Pakistani security personnel take position outside an agriculture training institute that was attacked by Taliban militants in Peshawar on December 1. (AFP)
Updated 01 December 2017
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Pakistan attack: Taliban militants storm agricultural college in Peshawar

PESHAWAR: Taliban militants stormed a training institute in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar Friday, injuring at least seven people.
Two to three gunmen entered the Agriculture Training Institute Friday morning, where they began firing indiscriminately, Peshawar police chief Muhammad Tahir Khan said.
“A number of people have been injured and the military and other law enforcement agencies are carrying out an operation to clear the area,” he said.
The militants are believed to remain inside the compound. An AFP reporter at the site saw a helicopter hovering over the area and heard gunshots from inside the building.
A residential area also within the training institute compound is being evacuated.
Wasim Riaz, a senior police official, said seven people injured so far have been shifted to the government-run Lady Reading Hospital.
A spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Muhammad Khurasani, claimed responsibility for the attack in a telephone call to AFP.
“Our mujahids have attacked the building because it was used as office for ISI, God willing our fighters will fight till the last drop of blood,” he said, referring to Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence agency.
The area where the incident occurred is a hub for educational institutions in the city including the university of Peshawar.
An interior ministry official said that cellular networks have been suspended in various cities across the country for security reasons.
Security was also tight after weeks-long anti-blasphemy protests in Islamabad that saw seven killed and hundreds wounded in clashes with police.
Violence erupted over the weekend after police and paramilitary forces launched a bungled attempt to clear the sit-in, igniting fresh demonstrations in cities across the country, including in Lahore and Karachi.
The protests were finally ended just days ago under a military-brokered deal.
In December 2014, a Taliban attack on the army-run school in Peshawar killed 151 people, mostly schoolchildren.


Iranian TV anchor held as witness is released from US jail

Updated 13 min 23 sec ago
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Iranian TV anchor held as witness is released from US jail

  • Marzieh Hashemi was detained by federal agents last week in St. Louis and transported to Washington
  • Her detention comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the US after President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from a nuclear deal

WASHINGTON: A prominent American-born anchorwoman on Iranian state television who was jailed in the US as a material witness has been released from jail, activists and a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Marzieh Hashemi, 59, was released from jail in Washington on Wednesday evening after being detained for more than 10 days, according to Abed Ayoub, an attorney with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
Hashemi, who works for the Press TV network’s English-language service, was detained by federal agents Jan. 13 in St. Louis, Missouri, where she had filmed a Black Lives Matter documentary after visiting relatives in the New Orleans area, her son said. She was then transported to Washington and had remained behind bars since then.
Hashemi appeared at least twice before a US District judge in Washington, and court papers said she would be released immediately after her testimony before a grand jury. Court documents did not include details on the criminal case in which she was named a witness.
Federal law allows judges to order witnesses to be detained if the government can prove that their testimony has extraordinary value for a criminal case and that they would be a flight risk and unlikely to respond to a subpoena. The statute generally requires those witnesses to be promptly released once they are deposed.
A person familiar with the matter said Hashemi had fulfilled her obligation as a material witness and was released. The person was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Hashemi is a US citizen and was born Melanie Franklin. She lives in Tehran and comes back to the United States about once a year to see her family, usually scheduling documentary work in the US, her son said.
Asked whether his mother had been involved in any criminal activity or knew anyone who might be implicated in a crime, Hossein Hashemi said, “We don’t have any information along those lines.”
He didn’t immediately respond to a call seeking comment on Wednesday.
Marzieh Hashemi’s detention comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the US after President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from a nuclear deal. Iran also faces increasing criticism of its own arrests of dual citizens and other people with Western ties.
Earlier Wednesday, dozens of activists protested outside the federal courthouse in Washington, where Hashemi was scheduled to appear before the grand jury. They held signs and chanted, “Free, free, Marzieh!” and “Shame, shame, USA!“