Five dead following US Border Patrol car chase in Texas

A heavily damaged SUV is seen on Texas Highway 85 in Big Wells, Texas, after crashing while carrying more than a dozen people fleeing from Border Patrol agents, on Sunday, June 17, 2018. (AP)
Updated 18 June 2018
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Five dead following US Border Patrol car chase in Texas

  • The chase began after a Border Patrol agent noticed three vehicles traveling in a caravan and suspected smuggling
  • Four victims were pronounced dead on the scene and a fifth was pronounced dead after being airlifted to a hospital in San Antonio

BIG WELLS, Texas: Five immigrants died and several others were injured on Sunday when their vehicle careened out of control while being chased by U.S. Border Patrol agents in Texas about 90 miles (145 km) north of the Mexican border, officials said.
Some of the injured were ejected from a Chevy Suburban packed with 14 people that was traveling up to 100 miles per hour (160 kph), Dimmit County Sheriff Marion Boyd told reporters.
The sport utility vehicle skidded off the road and then attempted to get back onto the highway, but the driver overcorrected and the vehicle flipped over, ejecting several people, Boyd said.
"We've seen this many, many times, in not only this county but other counties along the border," Boyd said. "This is a perfect example of why our borders need to be secure."
The chase began after a Border Patrol agent noticed three vehicles traveling in a caravan and suspected smuggling, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement. Border Patrol agents stopped two of the vehicles and made multiple arrests, but the third vehicle continued, the statement said.
"The driver did not stop and the attempt to stop the vehicle was taken over by a Dimmit County Sheriff's office deputy. The vehicle rolled over a short distance later on highway 85 near Big Wells, resulting in multiple injuries and fatalities," the statement said.
Four victims were pronounced dead on the scene and a fifth was pronounced dead after being airlifted to a hospital in San Antonio, Boyd said. A sixth person was in very critical condition with potentially life-threatening injuries, he said.
Television images showed the smashed vehicle missing at least two wheels, with debris strewn across the road at the Big Wells city limit.
The driver, who was not hurt, was arrested, Boyd said. It was not immediately clear what charges he will face.


Kashmir terror attack: Indian PM warns of strong action

Updated 4 min 47 sec ago
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Kashmir terror attack: Indian PM warns of strong action

  • Modi blames Pakistan for the deaths of 42 soldiers; Islamabad rejects allegations
NEW DELHI: India’s government on Friday held a high-level security meeting where it blamed Pakistan for the terror attacks in Indian-administered Kashmir that claimed the lives of 42 troops from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on Thursday.

“Those who did the heinous act will have to pay a heavy price. Those who supported it will definitely be punished,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after the meeting.
The Cabinet Committee on Security also decided to withdraw the Most Favored Nation status (MFN) accorded to Pakistan for the “support given to the Jaish-e-Mohammad,” a terror group that has claimed responsibility for the incident. The attack took place in the Lethpora village — along a highway in the Pulwama district of South Kashmir — when a suspected suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into a bus carrying paramilitary troopers.
Condemning Pakistan for the incident, Modi said that “our neighboring country thinks such terror attacks can weaken us, but their plans will not materialize. The security forces have been given complete freedom, the blood of the people is boiling.”
The main opposition Congress Party also held a press conference where former prime minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, and the party’s president, Rahul Gandhi, took turns to address the gathering. “The entire Congress party and most of the opposition stands by the security forces and the government in this difficult time. We are not going to get into any other conversation,” Gandhi said.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry released a statement blaming Pakistan “for supporting terror groups.”
“We demand that Pakistan stop supporting terrorists and terror groups operating from their territory and dismantle the infrastructure operated by terrorist outfits to launch attacks in other countries,” the Foreign Ministry Affairs said.
Islamabad has rejected the allegations. “We have always condemned acts of violence anywhere in the world. We strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian media and government that seek to link the attack to Pakistan without investigations,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Local security experts in Kashmir, however, said that such a suicide attack “marks a new normal in militancy in Kashmir.”
“Since 2014, the dialogue process has reached a dead-end from all sides. An atmosphere of fear has been unleashed in the Valley and that is the problem,” Gul Mohammed Wani, a professor at the University of Kashmir, said.
“Media reports say that the suicide bomber was from Pulwama only, a local boy. This points to desperation and a level of disconnect that Kashmiri youth have now. It is a new kind of militancy which is a matter of concern,” he said.
Meanwhile, a Srinagar-based political analyst and thinker, Prof. Siddiq Wahid, questioned “how long will both sides continue to mourn? It is senseless when you consider that it is the result of an arrogant power center refusing to talk, to engage in a dialogue. What does it take to accept that listening to the aspirations of people is a civilized norm?”
“The absence … and the rejection of dialogue has politically radicalized Kashmir. Not just among its youth but generally, too,” he told Arab News. “To blame Pakistan for it is to abdicate responsibility to understand, politically and socially, what a state is, and to look at India’s problems purely through the lens of some sort of strange and ironic victimhood for its population of more than a billion.”
Manoj Joshi of a New Delhi-based think tank, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), said that “this is the larger failure of the government because, for the last four years, the government has launched an operation all out to finish off militancy.”
“This is the most serious attack since the militancy started in the 1990s. Obviously, there is something wrong with the policy because the previous policy has managed to bring down the casualty and violence. But the violence has been going up for the last few years; it is a clear sign the policy of the present regime has failed,” he said, adding that an “all military strategy is the extension of political strategy and you have to have a political strategy before you think of having an effective military strategy.”
He criticized the government for creating a war hysteria, saying that “it’s easy to start the war but it’s difficult to predict what would be the outcome.” He, however, said that Pakistan cannot escape the responsibility. “If it’s serious about combatting terror it should hand over the Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar to India,” he said.