Ten dead, 38 wounded in three mass shootings ahead of US July 4 holiday

Ten dead, 38 wounded in three mass shootings ahead of US July 4 holiday
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Police arrive on the scene of a deadly shooting late Monday in Forth Worth, Texas. (WFAA via AP)
Ten dead, 38 wounded in three mass shootings ahead of US July 4 holiday
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Bullet holes found on the side of a parked truck are marked as police officers work at the scene the day after a shooting in the Kingsessing section of southwest Philadelphia, on July 4, 2023. (REUTERS)
Ten dead, 38 wounded in three mass shootings ahead of US July 4 holiday
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Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott speaks during a news conference attended by other city officials at the police headquarters on July 3, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Getty Images/AFP)
Ten dead, 38 wounded in three mass shootings ahead of US July 4 holiday
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Police officers work at the scene as investigations are ongoing the day after a mass shooting in the Kingsessing section of southwest Philadelphia on July 4, 2023. (REUTERS)
Ten dead, 38 wounded in three mass shootings ahead of US July 4 holiday
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Police arrive on the scene of a deadly shooting late Monday in Forth Worth, Texas. (WFAA via AP)
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Updated 05 July 2023
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Ten dead, 38 wounded in three mass shootings ahead of US July 4 holiday

Ten dead, 38 wounded in three mass shootings ahead of US July 4 holiday
  • US President Joe Biden calls on Republican lawmakers “to come to the table on meaningful, commonsense reforms”
  • There have been over 340 mass shootings in the US so far in 2023, according to data collected by the Gun Violence Archive

Ten people were killed and 38 wounded in mass shootings in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Fort Worth ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, officials said, prompting a fresh call from President Joe Biden to pass gun control legislation.
In Fort Worth, three people were killed and eight wounded in a mass shooting after a local festival to mark the US Independence Day holiday, police said on Tuesday.
In a separate mass shooting in Philadelphia on Monday evening, five people were killed and two were wounded, including a 2-year-old boy and 13-year-old boy, both of whom were shot in the legs, when a suspect in body armor and armed with an AR-15 opened fire on strangers, according to local police.
The Monday night shootings came a day after two people were shot dead and 28 others injured, about half of them children, in a hail of gunfire at a neighborhood block party in Baltimore.
The motives in all three recent shootings remained unclear.
The United States is struggling with a large number of mass shootings and incidents of gun violence.
There have been over 340 mass shootings in the country so far in 2023, according to data collected by the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as an incident in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.
Biden condemned the violence on Tuesday and renewed his calls to tighten America’s gun laws.
“Our nation has once again endured a wave of tragic and senseless shootings,” Biden said in a statement, calling on Republican lawmakers “to come to the table on meaningful, commonsense reforms.”
Citing constitutional protections for gun ownership, Republicans in Congress have generally blocked attempts to significantly reform gun safety laws and oppose Biden’s push to reinstate a ban on assault weapons.




US President Joe Biden speaks at a barbecue with active-duty military families on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington on July 4, 2023. (REUTERS)

Begging for action'
Philadelphia officials pleaded with state and federal lawmakers to act.
“We are begging Congress to protect lives and do something about America’s gun problem,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, told a news conference on Tuesday.
The city’s district attorney, Larry Krasner, asked Philadelphia state lawmakers for “reasonable legislation” of the type found in neighboring New Jersey and Delaware.
“Some of that legislation might have made a difference here,” Krasner said.
Philadelphia police said the suspect was a 40-year-old man who had an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and a 9mm pistol who wore body armor and a ski mask.
The dead ranged in age from 15 to 59.
Krasner vowed to present multiple charges of murder and other offenses at the shooter’s first court hearing on Wednesday.
Police in Fort Worth said no arrests had been made in a shooting that broke out at Como Fest, a recent tradition celebrating the Como neighborhood’s African American history.
“I choose to believe this is a few bad perpetrators that came into this neighborhood to really wreak havoc,” Mayor Mattie Parker said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Witnesses heard a barrage of gunfire just before midnight that led some to initially believe it was fireworks but soon led to a stampede for safety, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Hours later, defiant neighbors and community leaders held their July Fourth parade through Como.
In Baltimore, police have said they are seeking multiple suspects.
The latest shootings took place around the anniversary of last year’s Highland Park mass shooting near Chicago, where seven people were killed and 48 others wounded at an Independence Day parade. A 22-year-old man remains in custody after being indicted on 117 felony charges for the carnage.
 


Trump says Iran attack on Israel shows US ‘weakness’ under Biden

Former US President Donald Trump (L) and US President Joe Biden during. (AFP)
Former US President Donald Trump (L) and US President Joe Biden during. (AFP)
Updated 14 April 2024
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Trump says Iran attack on Israel shows US ‘weakness’ under Biden

Former US President Donald Trump (L) and US President Joe Biden during. (AFP)

SCHNECKSVILLE, United States: Donald Trump on Saturday blasted President Joe Biden over Iran’s major attack on Israel, alleging that his rival in November elections showed American “weakness” in the Middle East.
“God bless the people of Israel. They are under attack right now. That’s because we show great weakness,” he said at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania.
Iran launched an unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel Saturday evening, after pledging retaliation for a strike on its consular building in Syria that killed seven Revolutionary Guards members, two of them generals.
Trump, who while in office ordered the killing of a top Revolutionary Guard leader in Baghdad and withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear accord, has repeatedly accused his Democratic opponent of a soft approach toward Tehran.
“The weakness that we’ve shown, it’s unbelievable, and it would not have happened if we were in office,” Trump said Saturday.
“But America prays for Israel, we send our absolute support to everyone in harm’s way.”
Biden meanwhile was huddling at the White House with his key military and national security advisers, saying on X that the US “commitment to Israel’s security against threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad.”

 


Major airlines cancel flights, reroute planes as Iran launches retaliatory attack on Israel

An Aeroflot Airbus A320-200 aircraft takes off at Sheremetyevo International Airport outside Moscow, Russia. (REUTERS file photo
An Aeroflot Airbus A320-200 aircraft takes off at Sheremetyevo International Airport outside Moscow, Russia. (REUTERS file photo
Updated 18 min 4 sec ago
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Major airlines cancel flights, reroute planes as Iran launches retaliatory attack on Israel

An Aeroflot Airbus A320-200 aircraft takes off at Sheremetyevo International Airport outside Moscow, Russia. (REUTERS file photo
  • The return flight from Tehran to Moscow has been canceled

MOSCOW: An Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Tehran which took off on Saturday evening will land in Makhachkala in Russia’s Dagestan region and a number of flights to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates will be postponed, the airline said.
“Flight SU514 Moscow — Tehran ... will land at the Makhachkala airport,” Aeroflot said on its Telegram messaging app. “In order to ensure flight safety, the plane will return to Moscow after refueling.”
The return flight from Tehran to Moscow has been canceled, it added.
The Russian flagship carrier also said it was postponing until at least later on Sunday flights from Moscow and St. Petersburg to the Red Sea resort town of Hurghada in Egypt, from Moscow to Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt, and from Moscow to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE.

The Switzerland flagship carrier Swiss International Air lines also suspended Tel Aviv service according to Wall Street Journal.

United Airlines has canceled Saturday’s planned flight from Newark to Tel Aviv due to restrictions on Israeli airspace, the airline said in a statement on Saturday.

Israel El Al Airlines has canceled 15 flights scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, the carrier said on Saturday as hostilities with Iran surged and Israel closed its airspace as a precaution.
Foreign destinations affected include Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Milan, Bucharest, Sofia, Athens, Dubai and Moscow, the El Al statement said.

 

 

 

 


US House to consider pro-Israel bill next week, lawmaker says after Iran attack

The US Capitol in Washington, DC, on March 8, 2024. (AFP)
The US Capitol in Washington, DC, on March 8, 2024. (AFP)
Updated 14 April 2024
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US House to consider pro-Israel bill next week, lawmaker says after Iran attack

The US Capitol in Washington, DC, on March 8, 2024. (AFP)
  • Israel has killed more than 30,600 civilians in Gaza, according to Palestinian health officials

WASHINGTON: The US House of Representatives will make a change in its schedule to consider legislation that supports Israel and holds Iran accountable, House Majority Leader Steve Scalize said in a statement on Saturday.
“The House of Representatives stands strongly with Israel, and there must be consequences for this unprovoked attack,” he said in a statement. More details will follow, he said.
Scalize’s office did not immediately respond to an inquiry seeking clarification of what legislation would be considered.
It was unclear whether Scalize was referring to a stand-alone bill to aid Israel, or the $95 billion supplemental spending bill that includes $14 billion for Israel, in addition to $60 billion for Ukraine, support for Taiwan and billions of dollars in humanitarian assistance.
That package passed the Senate with 70 percent support in February but has been blocked in the House, whose Republican leaders will not call it up for a vote, largely because of their objection to further funding for Ukraine.
The package also faces resistance from a handful of left-leaning Democrats who object to sending more money to Israel while it pursues a military campaign that has killed more than 30,000 civilians in Gaza, according to Palestinian health officials. US Senator Mitch McConnell released a statement on Saturday evening urging the House to move forward with the larger aid bill that includes funds for Ukraine and Taiwan. “The national security supplemental that has waited months for action will provide critical resources to Israel and our own military forces in the region,” the statement said.

 


Six killed in Sydney shopping center attack

People are led out from the Westfield Shopping Centre where multiple people were stabbed in Sydney, Saturday, April 13, 2024.
People are led out from the Westfield Shopping Centre where multiple people were stabbed in Sydney, Saturday, April 13, 2024.
Updated 13 April 2024
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Six killed in Sydney shopping center attack

People are led out from the Westfield Shopping Centre where multiple people were stabbed in Sydney, Saturday, April 13, 2024.
  • Multiple people were stabbed by the unidentified assailant, who was shot dead by a policewoman at the scene

SYDNEY: Six people were killed and several others injured — including a nine-month-old baby — when a knife-wielding attacker rampaged through a busy Sydney shopping center on Saturday.
Australian police said multiple people were stabbed by the unidentified assailant, who was tracked down and shot dead by a policewoman who is being hailed as a national hero.
The incident occurred at the sprawling Westfield Bondi Junction mall complex, which was packed with thousands of Saturday afternoon shoppers.
New South Wales police commissioner Karen Webb said five women and one man had died. A baby was undergoing emergency surgery.
Police said the attacker is believed to be a 40-year-old man who was known to law enforcement, but he has not yet been formally identified.
Webb played down suggestions that the attack could have been an act of terrorism and said it is believed the attacker acted alone.
“If it is in fact the person we believe it is, then... it’s not a terrorism incident,” she said.
A New South Wales Ambulance spokesperson told AFP that eight patients were taken to various hospitals across Sydney, including the baby who was taken to the city’s Children’s Hospital.
“They all have traumatic injuries,” the official said.
Security camera footage showed a man wearing an Australian rugby league jersey running around the shopping center with a large knife.
Injured people lay lifeless on the floor, or surrounded by pools of blood.
Eyewitnesses described a scene of panic, with shoppers scrambling to safety and police trying to secure the area.
Many people took shelter in shops, trying to protect themselves, their families and frightened strangers.
Ayush Singh was working at a cafe inside the center when the incident occurred.
“I saw the whole thing in front of me,” he told AFP. “I saw a lot of people running around, I saw the guy running with the knife and people running away.”
Singh helped two elderly ladies who were having a coffee to hide inside his cafe. He heard three gunshots ring out, then saw the man lying on the ground.
“It was really scary,” he said. “I’ve felt really safe (in Australia). I’ve been here for six years. I didn’t feel unsafe but now I feel scared.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese praised the bravery of strangers who helped each other and the woman police inspector who rushed headlong toward danger.
“She is certainly a hero. There is no doubt that she saved lives through her action,” Albanese said.

Pranjul Bokaria had just finished up work and was doing some shopping when the stabbing occurred.
She ended up running to a nearby shop and taking shelter in a break room.
“It was scary, there are some people who were emotionally vulnerable and crying,” she told AFP.
She escaped using an emergency exit with other shoppers and staff, which took them to a back street.
She described a scene of “chaos,” with people running and police swarming the area.
“I am alive and grateful,” she said.
As night fell, dozens of heavily armed police and ambulances were still outside the shopping complex, with stretchers ready to take people to nearby hospitals.
The sound of police sirens and helicopters filled the air.
The mall has been locked down and police have urged people to avoid the area.
Britain’s King Charles III said he and his wife Queen Camilla were “utterly shocked and horrified” by the stabbing.
Pope Francis said he was “deeply saddened” by the attack and sent his “spiritual solidarity to all those affected” in a message addressed to the archbishop of Sydney.
Such attacks are virtually unheard of in Australia, which has relatively low rates of violent crime.
 

 


Rwandan expelled from US given life genocide term

Beatrice Munyenyezi is escorted by police officers at a court in Kigali, Rwanda. (AFP file photo)
Beatrice Munyenyezi is escorted by police officers at a court in Kigali, Rwanda. (AFP file photo)
Updated 13 April 2024
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Rwandan expelled from US given life genocide term

Beatrice Munyenyezi is escorted by police officers at a court in Kigali, Rwanda. (AFP file photo)
  • The sentencing came days after Rwanda marked 30 years since the genocide carried out by the extremist Hutu regime between April and July 1994, which left more than 800,000 people dead, mostly Tutsi but also moderate Hutus, according to a UN tally

KIGALI: A Rwandan woman expelled to her homeland three years ago from the US has been given a life sentence for her role in the country’s 1994 genocide, The New Times newspaper reported on Saturday.
A court in the southern town of Huye found Beatrice Munyenyezi guilty of the charges of murder as a genocide crime, complicity in genocide, incitement to commit genocide, and complicity in rape.
However, she was acquitted on a charge of planning genocide, the Rwandan-based national paper said.
The sentencing came days after Rwanda marked 30 years since the genocide carried out by the extremist Hutu regime between April and July 1994, which left more than 800,000 people dead, mostly Tutsi but also moderate Hutus, according to a UN tally.

FASTFACT

Beatrice Munyenyezi was deported in April 2021 from the US after serving a 10-year prison sentence there for lying about her involvement in the genocide as she set about obtaining American citizenship.

Munyenyezi, 54, denied all the charges against her.
But the court concluded she was guilty of ordering and committing murders and attacks herself, including that of a nun who was raped on her orders.
Nicknamed the “commander,” the investigation and several witness accounts said that Munyenyezi was supervising a roadblock in Huye — then called Butare — where she identified Tutsis and had them killed, and also encouraged Hutu extremists to rape women.
She was deported in April 2021 from the US after serving a 10-year prison sentence there for lying about her involvement in the genocide as she set about obtaining American citizenship, saying she faced persecution in her own country.
The case attracted US attention as her mother-in-law Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, a former minister in the genocidal regime, and her husband Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, a former local militia leader, were also on trial for genocide crimes at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania.
They were also sentenced to life in prison, in 2011, before their terms were reduced to 47 years on appeal.