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President Sisi pledges extreme force in revenge for Egypt’s worst atrocity

Burnt-out cars line the streets of al-Arish in northern Sinai on Saturday after the terror attack on the mosque.

Egypt was reeling on Saturday from the worst atrocity it has suffered in recent years, with officials putting the death toll from the bomb and gun assault on a Sinai mosque at 305. The figure includes 27 children.

A further 128 people were wounded in the attack on the Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, north Sinai. A bomb ripped through the mosque as Friday prayers were finishing, before militants opened fire on worshippers. In response, airstrikes were directed at “terrorist” locations, said military sources.

Egypt’s chief prosecutor, Nabil Sadeq, said the attack was carried out by 25-30 militants who had stationed themselves at the mosque’s main door and 12 windows before opening fire on those inside. More than 50 ambulances ferried casualties from the mosque, about 25 miles west of the city of Arish, to nearby hospitals. Pictures from the scene showed rows of bloodied victims inside the mosque.

Theresa May yesterday told the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, that the UK “stands ready to help in any way possible”. Downing Street added that the two leaders agreed that international co-operation was needed to tackle the problem of terrorism.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it marks a significant escalation in a region where, for the past three years, Egyptian security forces have battled an Islamic State insurgency that has killed hundreds of police and soldiers. It was reported yesterday that the assailants were carrying the Islamic State flag. The attack was not only one of the worst terrorist incidents in Egyptian history, but also the first on a mosque. The justification for assaulting a Muslim place of worship appears to be that the mosque was frequented by Sufis, a sect considered by many Islamist extremists to be heretical.

There are, however, many conspiracy theories circulating, which suggest the atrocity has provided the president with a convenient opportunity to demonstrate his security credentials. In a nearby outdoor cafe, in the shadow of another mosque frequented by Sufis, Sayeda Zeinab, most patrons were adamant on Saturday that the attack was purely politically motivated. “This was all because of the elections,” said one customer.

Sisi is widely expected to stand in elections due to be held early next year to try to retain the presidency. When he first ran in 2014, the message of his campaign was that the former army general was the only man who could bring stability to the country and prevent the chaos that has engulfed neighbouring Libya and Syria from ever reaching Egypt.

“I supported him,” said the customer. “But I would never vote for him again. I’ll take just about anyone else; he can’t win.” With a sharp drop in tourism, following the 2011 Arab Spring, Sisi has presided over a period of economic instability, in addition to one with a sustained terrorist threat. “Do any of us live as well as we used to?” said the customer. “My salary is a third of what it used to be.”

All around the cafe and in the street are signs of the upcoming elections. Posters draped from the lamp-posts show Sisi’s smiling face, accompanied with an appeal for him to “Build it” – meaning to re-run for office. This is supposedly a grassroots movement, although some community figures have reported being given petitions to hand out, sent to them by the interior ministry.

With the elections drawing closer, this attack seems to have shaken the nerves of the government. The president has reacted swiftly, promising to meet the attack with extreme force, as well as declaring three days of public mourning. In a press release on Saturday, the state information services said he had ordered that 200,000 Egyptian pounds (£8,478) be paid to the families of victims for every member killed. Within hours of the attack, security forces also reported airstrikes in the vicinity of the attack.

Yet the mood in Cairo is one of calm. The number of people killed and injured in the Sinai attack is much higher than in past terrorist atrocities. However, north Sinai remains a no-go area for journalists, making it difficult to confirm details.

Cairo’s residents are used to stories of violence from the Sinai region. “It feels like a long way away,” says Ahmed Yousef, 30, a telecoms engineer. “They can’t even get into Cairo, it’s too crowded.”

In July, at least 23 soldiers were killed when suicide car bombs were detonated at two military checkpoints in the Sinai. Isis claimed responsibility. The local Isis affiliate, Wilayat al-Sinai (the governorate of Sinai), also carried out the previous deadliest attack in the region when, in 2015, it brought down a Russian passenger jet that was carrying tourists back from the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing 224 people.

Henry Sapiecha

1…Post officeAugust 20, 1986
Postal worker Patrick Henry Sherrill arms himself with three pistols and kills 14 co-workers in 10 minutes , before taking his own life with a bullet to the head.

2…BlacksburgApril 16, 2007
Student Seung-Hui Cho, 23, goes on a shooting spree killing 32 people in two locations and wounding 17 others on campus. He then commits suicide.

3…McDonald’sJuly 18, 1984
Armed with a long-barreled Uzi, a pump-action shotgun and a handgun James Huberty, 41, shoots dead 21 adults and children at a McDonald’s. A police sniper kills Huberty one hour after the rampage begins.

4…American Civic Association
immigration centerApril 3, 2009
Jiverly Wong kills 13 people and injures four during a shooting at a migrant centre. He then kills himself.

5…Geneva County massacreMarch 10, 2009
Michael McLendon kills 10 in shooting rampage. The dead include his mother, grandparents, aunt and uncle.

6…Luby’s CafeteriaOctober 16, 1991
George Hennard, 35, crashes his pickup truck through Luby’s Cafeteria then guns down 23 people. He then commits suicide.

7…Wah Mee gambling and social clubFebruary 18, 1983
Three gunmen storm the Wah Mee gambling and social club, rob the 14 occupants then shoot each in the head, killing 13. Two of the assailants are caught and jailed for life. A third flees to Canada before being caught and deported to Hong Kong.

8…PennsylvaniaSeptember 25, 1982
Prison guard George Banks, 40, kills 13 people including five of his own children. In September 2011, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturns his death sentence ruling he is mentally incompetent.

9…University of TexasAugust 1, 1966
Charles Joseph Whitman, a former US Marine, kills 16 and wounds at least 30 while shooting from a University of Texas tower. Police officers Ramiro Martinez and Houston McCoy shoot and kill Whitman in the tower. Whitman had also killed his mother and wife earlier in the day.

10…Navy YardSeptember 16, 2013
Aaron Alexis, 34, shoots dead 12 people in the Washington Navy Yard. Alexis is killed.

11…Sandy Hook Elementary SchoolDecember 14, 2012
Adam Lanza 20, guns down 20 children, ages six and seven, and six teachers and staffers, before turning the gun on himself. Investigating police later find Nancy Lanza, Adam’s mother, dead from a gunshot wound.
12…GeorgiaJuly 29, 1999
Mark Barton, 44, kills his wife and two children at his home. He then opens fire in two different stock broker businesses killing nine people and wounding 12. He later kills himself.
13…Century movie theaterJuly 20, 2012
James E. Holmes, 24, dressed head-to-toe in protective tactical gear and aremd with several weapons, sets off two devices before spraying a movie theatre with gunfire during a midnight screening of Batman: Dark Knight Rises. Twelve people are killed and 58 wounded. Holmes is found guilty of 165 charges and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
14…Fort Hood army baseNovember 5, 2009
Major Nidal Malik Hasan kills 13 people and injures 32 at the Fort Hood army base, during a shooting rampage. He is convicted and sentenced to death.
15…Route 91 country music festivalOctober 1, 2017
Stephen Paddock, 64, opens fire on revellers at a music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. He fires thousands of bullets into the panicked crowd, killing at least 59 and wounding another 527. Paddock killed himself when SWAT teams stormed his hotel room. A motive is unknown.
16…New JerseySeptember 5, 1949
Howard Unruh, 28, a veteran of World War II, shoots and kills 13 people as he walks down Camden’s 32nd Street, using a German Luger pistol. He is found insane and is committed to a state mental institution. He dies at the age of 88.
17…Pulse NightclubJune 12, 2016
Omar Saddiqui Mateen, 29, opens fire inside Pulse, a gay nightclub, in Orlando. At least 49 people are killed and more than 50 are injured. Police shoot and kill Mateen during an operation to free hostages.
18…Inland Regional CenterDecember 2, 2015
Married couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik open fire on an employees at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, killing 14 people. They are then gunned down by police after a road chase.
Henry Sapiecha

THE Texas church shooter had family connections to the church where he killed at least 26 on Sunday in what is now the worst mass shooting in the state’s history.

At an afternoon press conference, police revealed that shooter Devin Patrick Kelley was in a domestic dispute with his mother-in-law, Michelle Shields, who attended the church.

Officials said he sent “threatening texts” to his mother-in-law, but wouldn’t go into further detail about their “domestic situation”.

THE “deranged” gunman who killed 26 churchgoers in Texas was militant atheist who ranted on Facebook about “stupid” religious people.

Devin Kelley, 26, who opened fire on worshippers in First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs yesterday, was described as “creepy” and “weird” by former schoolmates.

The Shields family was not present during worship on Sunday when the massacre unfolded, but spoke to investigators after.

Earlier in the day, Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackett told reporters that Kelley and his wife Danielle were estranged.

Danielle, Kelley’s wife. Picture: Facebook.

Marriage records show the couple tied the knot in Comal County, Texas on April 4, 2014, when Kelley was 23 and his bride was 19.

As of Monday, Danielle’s Facebook profile still listed her relationship status as “married” and photos on the account show her with two young kids — a baby girl and an older boy.

Neighbour Mark Moravitz told ABC News that Kelley lived at his parents’ home in New Braunfels with his wife. Mr Moravitz said that he would sometimes hear gunshots coming from near the house late at night, reports the Daily Mail.

Mourners participate in a candlelight vigil held for the victims of a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Picture: AP.

Divorce records show he was also married once before to a Tessa K Kelley. Kelley and his other wife divorced in 2012 — the same year that he was court-martialed for domestic violence.

air force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said Kelley was court-martialed on one count of assault on his spouse and another count of assault on their child.

He was sentenced to 12 months’ confinement, a reduction in rank and was discharged for bad conduct two years later.

Stefanek said Kelley served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman air force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge, reports Mail Online.

SHOOTER COMMITTED SUICIDE AFTER MASSACRE

Kelley fatally shot himself after crashing his vehicle with two local residents in hot pursuit, the local sheriff said.

Mr Tackitt said gunfire was exchanged between Kelley, who was clad in black tactical gear, and two armed citizens during the chase after the shootings.

“There was some gunfire exchanged, I believe, on the roadway also, and then (the shooter’s vehicle) wrecked out,” Mr Tackitt said.

State troopers patrol at the entrance to the First Baptist Church (back) after a mass shooting that killed 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas on November 6, 2017 Picture: AP.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott told CBS News that the attack on the church in Sutherland Springs, a community of fewer than 400 people east of San Antonio, did not appear to be a “random act”.

Mr Abbott also said Kelley tried to get a license to carry a gun in Texas, but the state denied him.

SHOOTER ‘PREACHED HIS ATHEISM’ ONLINE

Former classmates said Kelley was militant atheist who ranted on Facebook about “stupid” religious people.

Classmate Nina Rosa Nava write on Facebook that the mass murderer used to rant on the social network about his atheist beliefs.

She said: “He was always talking about how people who believe in God were stupid and trying to preach his atheism,” reports The Sun.

Fellow user Christopher Leo Longoria replied: “I removed him off FB for those same reasons! He was being super nagtive (sic) all the time (sic).”

Carrie Matula embraces a woman after a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Picture: AP.

TRUMP RESPONDS TO TEXAS TRAGEDY

Responding to the Texas tragedy while in Japan, the US President insisted guns are not the problem and attempted to hose down any legislative hopes.

Kelley was “deranged”, Mr Trump said.

Donald Trump said the shooter was deranged. Picture: Supplied.

“We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, but this isn’t a gun situation,” he said.

Rather than an example of the need for gun control in the US, Mr Trump insisted it was a “mental health problem at the highest level” instead.

Among the dozens murdered and injured, ranging in age from five to 72, was Annabelle Pomeroy, the 14-year-old daughter of the church’s pastor Frank Pomeroy.

“She was one beautiful, special child,” Pomeroy said.

PREGNANT MUM KILLED IN SHOOTING

Some of the victims from the church massacre are beginning to be identified, including a pregnant woman.

Smiling at the camera, with a butterfly painted on her face, pregnant Crystal Holcombe is pictured standing outside a Texas church alongside two little girls believed to be her daughters, reports the Mirror.

The haunting final image was taken on Halloween — just days before a gunman opened fire at the church.

Crystal Holcombe died in the massacre. Picture: Facebook.

Holcombe, who was eight months pregnant, died in the massacre, along with three of her five kids and her in-laws, Karla and Bryan Holcombe.

A devoted mum who “didn’t even drink or smoke”, took care of her children, raised goats and made homemade cheese, a relative said.

. Picture: Facebook.

Holcombe, who was eight months pregnant, died in the massacre, along with three of her five kids and her in-laws, Karla and Bryan Holcombe.

A devoted mum who “didn’t even drink or smoke”, took care of her children, raised goats and made homemade cheese, a relative said.

Crystal Holcombe poses outside the Texas church on Halloween just days before the massacre. Picture: Facebook.

They were attending the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs’s annual Fall Festival, alongside other excited families and churchgoers.

The free event featured food, drinks, a bouncy house, games, a maze and a hayride among other things, with attendees invited to “bring their kids”.

Annabelle, pictured with her father Pastor Frank Pomeroy. Picture: Facebook
Annabelle is being remembered as “a beautiful soul”. Picture: Supplied

HERO COWBOY GAVE CHASE

A pick up-driving, heavily tattooed cowboy is being hailed a hero for his role in bringing down the Texas church massacre gunman.

Johnnie Langendorff was driving past the church just moments after Kelley opened fire on parishioners inside during morning service.

As the gunman fled, another bystander — a local man believed to live next to the church — fired on him with his own rifle.

Mr Langendorff saw this exchange of gunfire and stopped to assist, he told TV news outlet KSAT 12.

“The shooter had taken off, fled in his vehicle,” the good Samaritan recalled.

“I just acted and got (the bystander) off the road. He explained very quickly what happened and he got in the truck. I knew it was time to go.”

Johnnie Langendorff, pictured with his girlfriend Summer Caddell, has been hailed a hero for chasing down the church shooter. Picture: Supplied

They chased Kelley for some time at high speed, reaching 150 kilometres per hour, before the killer crashed.

“He lost control. I put the vehicle in park, the other gentleman got out. He had his rifle drawn but (the shooter) didn’t move after that.”

Mr Langendorff said he didn’t know who the other hero was.

“I was strictly just acting on what’s the right thing to do,” he said.

The Texas church smass murderer Devin Patrick Kelley. Picture: Supplied

MASSACRE CAUGHT ON CAMERA

It’s not yet known what prompted Kelley, to carry out his killing spree at the small town church, armed with a Ruger assault rifle.

However authorities revealed a video camera was rolling inside and will now become a key part of the investigation.

Freeman Martin from the Texas Department of Public Safety said Kelley parked at a service station across the road from the church about 11.20am, crossed to the church and started firing outside the building.

He then walked into the church and continued spraying bullets.

The death toll included 23 parishioners inside the church, two outside the building and another who died after being taken to hospital.

RELATED: Shooting at First Baptist Church puts lax Texas gun laws under the spotlight

The scene outside First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs

CHURCH WAS HARD TO FLEE

A teenager says the layout of the church would have made it difficult for congregants to flee a shooter who came in the front door.

Hunter Green, 16, described the building as having only small exits on the side and in the back. If a gunman came in the front door, Green said “they wouldn’t have had anywhere to go”.

He says he attends the church with his girlfriend but they skipped the morning service after a late date night.

A woman prays with a man after a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

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Texas church shooting hero chases suspect down

A picture published by The Daily Beast, said to be from Kelley’s Facebook page, of a gun.

WITNESSES REVEAL HORROR: “THIS WAS RAPID FIRE”

Locals in the small town said the shock of the church service attack was “indescribable”.

“This was semiautomatic fire, this was rapid fire. It was very disturbing,” said local resident Carrie Matula, who lives near the church.

“This is a very small town. Everybody knows everybody, this is just devastating. It’s going to change the whole dynamic of this area.”

TEXAS MASSACRE: What we know so far

More than 100 locals were gathered in a community centre, some waiting to hear if they had lost loved ones.

She described the mood inside the centre as: “Just shock and dismay and mourning and lots of people praying together and praying for their neighbours and their loved ones.”

A man wipes his eyes after a deadly shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Picture: AP

An eyewitness, who works at a petrol station across the road, told ABC News: “We heard several shots and we all started running inside the store.

“It lasted about 15 seconds. I yelled, ‘Get down! Get inside’ and we all went into hiding.”

She said the gas station locked its doors. “We have not reopened.

“There were officers that were checking the wounded in here were asking them questions.”

Enrique and Gabby Garcia watch investigators at the scene of a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Picture: AP

KSAT showed video of several fire and police vehicles at the church and a photo of a helicopter arriving to transport victims to hospitals.

The area is known for its annual peanut festival in nearby Floresville, which was most recently held last month.

“We’re shocked. Shocked and dismayed,” said state Senator Judith Zaffirini, a Democrat whose district includes Sutherland Springs.

“It’s especially shocking when it’s such a small, serine area.”

First responders work at the rear of the First Baptist Church. Picture: AP

First responders converged on the small town and helicopters have been taking victims to hospitals, with the FBI also on the scene.

A spokeswoman for Connally Memorial Medical Center in nearby Floresville said the hospital received eight patients with gunshot wounds.

Four had been transferred to San Antonio.

Texan Governor Greg Abbott tweeted his shock in the wake of the tragedy.

“Our prayers are with all who were harmed by this evil act. Our thanks to law enforcement for their response.”

At a later press conference, Governor Abbott said it was “the largest mass shooting in our state’s history”.

“There are so many families who have lost family members. Fathers, mothers, sons and daughters,” he said.

Law enforcement officers man a barricade near the First Baptist Church. Picture: AP

His voice broke as he said: “The tragedy is so much worse that this took place in a place of worship.”

“There are 26 lives that have been lost,” he said.

“We don’t know if that number will rise or not. All we know is that’s too many and this will be a long suffering and mourning for those in pain.”

GUN CONTROL ANGER RESURFACES

In the immediate wake of the tragedy attention turned once again to America’s ongoing gun control debate.

Senator Chris Murphy, who represents Connecticut — the state of the Sandy Hook shooting — issued a powerful statement that has since gone viral.

In it, Senator Murphy said “none of this is inevitable” and that “no other country endures this pace of mass carnage”.

Shannon Watts, founder of the Mums Demand anti-gun movement, took to Twitter to point out that since the start of 2009, Texas has seen more mass shootings than any other state.

“In addition, (Texas Governor Greg Abbott) is a staunch advocate of the NRA, which endorsed him in return,” Ms Watts wrote.

A couple comfort each other at a community centre in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Picture: AP

Comedian and television host Chelsea Handler pointed blame directly at Republicans.

“Innocent people go to church on Sunday to honour their God, and while doing so, get shot in killed. What country? America. Why? Republicans,” she wrote.

Author Stephen King echoed the sentiment. “How many more have to die before we enact sane gun control laws?”

Former President Barack Obama, who fought for stricter gun controls in the wake of several mass shootings during his time in office, took to Twitter in the wake of today’s tragedy.

While issuing his condolences to the families of victims, he also called for action.

“May God also grant all of us the wisdom to ask what concrete steps we can take to reduce the violence and weaponry in our midst,” he wrote.

Originally published as Texas gunman targeted wife’s church

Henry Sapiecha

A massive bomb attack in a busy area of the Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday is now known to have killed at least 230 people, police say.

Hundreds more were wounded when a lorry packed with explosives detonated near the entrance of a hotel.

It is the deadliest terror attack in Somalia since the Islamist al-Shabab group launched its insurgency in 2007.

It is not clear who staged the bombing, but Mogadishu is a target for al-Shabab militants battling the government.

President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” Mohamed has declared three days of mourning for the victims of the blast.

Local media reported families gathering in the area on Sunday morning, looking for missing loved ones amid the ruins of one of the largest bombs ever to strike the city.

There are fears people are trapped under the rubble

A BBC Somali reporter at the scene of the main blast said the Safari Hotel had collapsed, with people trapped under the rubble.

An eyewitness, local resident Muhidin Ali, told news agency AFP it was “the biggest blast I have ever witnessed, it destroyed the whole area”.

Meanwhile, the director of the Madina Hospital, Mohamed Yusuf Hassan, said he was shocked by the scale of the attack.

“Seventy-two wounded people were admitted to the hospital and 25 of them are in very serious condition. Others lost their hands and legs at the scene.

“What happened yesterday was incredible, I have never seen such a thing before, and countless people lost their lives. Corpses were burned beyond recognition.”

The death toll continues to rise after the deadly blast

The international community has been quick to condemn the attack.

In a statement, the US Mission to Somalia said: “Such cowardly attacks reinvigorate the commitment of the United States to assist our Somali and African Union partners to combat the scourge of terrorism.”

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: “My thoughts are with families of the victims, and the government and people of Somalia at this difficult time.

“Those responsible have shown no regard for human life or the suffering of the Somali people. The UK will continue to support Somalia in the fight against terrorism.”

At least 58 people were killed and 500 injured when a heavily armed ‘lone wolf’ gunman opened fire from a 32-floor hotel room on an open-air concert on the Las Vegas Strip in the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 01: People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was hear on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A gunman has opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, leaving at least 20 people dead and more than 100 injured. Police have confirmed that one suspect has been shot. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

The IS group claimed the 64-year-old Nevada man behind the Sunday night massacre, Stephen Craig Paddock, was one of its “soldiers” but the FBI said it had found no such connection so far.

Police said Paddock, a retired accountant, killed himself before a SWAT team breached his room in the Mandalay Bay hotel overlooking the venue for the country music concert.

President Donald Trump denounced what he called “an act of pure evil” and said he would visit Las Vegas on Wednesday.

This undated photo provided by Eric Paddock shows him (left) with his brother, Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock (right) (AAP)

Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters at least eight rifles had been recovered from the gunman’s hotel room.

Paddock was believed to be a “lone wolf” assailant who acted alone, Lombardo said, declining to speculate as to what may have motivated the attack.

Who is the Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock?

The 64-year-old had a home in a tranquil golf course retirement community in Mesquite, Nevada, 80 miles (130 kilometers) east of the gambling hub and, according to a brother, showed no sign he was poised to commit mass murder.

The Islamic State Group said the worst mass shooting in recent US history was perpetrated by one of its “soldiers,” claiming that Paddock had converted to Islam in recent weeks and carried out the attack in its name.

But the FBI said they saw “no connection” between Paddock and international terror groups, and a stunned nation remained at a loss to understand the motive for the Sunday night massacre, which left 58 people dead and more than 500 injured.

“I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath at this point,” he said.

Lombardo said Paddock had apparently used a hammer to smash the window of his hotel room before opening fire on the crowd below.

Police said around 22,000 people were attending the concert when bursts of automatic gunfire erupted shortly after 10:00 pm (0500 GMT).

Concert-goers screamed and fled in panic as a steady stream of bullets rained down from the hotel.

58 dead, 515 injured

Lombardo said 58 people had been confirmed dead and 515 injured and he said the toll could rise. The authorities issued an appeal for blood donors.

IS said one of its “soldiers” who had “converted to Islam several months ago” was behind the shooting but provided no evidence to back up the claim.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it has found no such link so far.

“As this event unfolds we have determined to this point no connection with an international terrorist group,” said Aaron Rouse, special agent in charge of the Las Vegas office of the FBI.

Paddock, who photographs showed as greying with a trimmed beard and moustache, was a former accountant and a licensed private pilot with no criminal record, according to ABC News.

Eric Paddock, the gunman’s brother, said he was at a complete loss to understand what may have motivated the shooting.

“This is an asteroid falling out of the sky,” Eric Paddock told CBS News.

He said his brother had “no religious affiliation, no political affiliation.”

“He was my brother. He was a guy. He gambled,” Eric Paddock said.

He said his brother had no history of mental illness and was “not an avid gun guy at all.”

Paddock resided in a new golf course development in the desert just outside Mesquite, Nevada, 80 miles northeast (130 kilometers) of Las Vegas.

‘Pretty much like a war scene’

Witnesses said Paddock opened fire with an initial long burst of gunfire, and then appeared to reload as he continued his spree.

“We heard (what) sounded like a glass breaking, so you looked around to see what’s going on and then heard a pop, pop, pop,” Monique Dekerf told CNN.

“You’d think for a moment okay we’re fine, there’s no more gunfire, then it starts again.”

Country music star Jason Aldean was on stage and near the end of his concert when the shooting began.

Aldean initially carried on playing when the first crackle of gunfire could be heard but then hurried off the stage.

Robert Hayes, a firefighter from Los Angeles who was in front of the stage, said he first thought the shots were some kind of equipment malfunction.

Once he realised what was going on, he joined the first responders, donning one of their vests.

“Honestly I probably pronounced 15-20 people” dead, he told Fox News. “It was pretty much like a war scene inside.”

Emergency crews used anything to hand as makeshift stretchers, including tables and metal railings normally used to control the crowds, said Hayes.

Asked if he thought it was an inexperienced gunman, he responded: “With 30,000 people in the arena area, it was kind of like shooting goldfish … He didn’t have to be good.”

Broken windows are seen on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino after a lone gunman opened fired (Getty)

‘Beyond horrific’

The Las Vegas attack is the deadliest shooting in recent US history, exceeding the toll of 49 dead in an attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida in June 2016.

It was also the latest in a series of recent deadly attacks at concert venues.

Twenty-two people were killed while leaving an Ariana Grande concert in the northern English city of Manchester in May when a suicide bomber detonated a nail bomb in the foyer.

Ninety people were killed in November 2015 at the Bataclan venue in Paris during a concert by US band the Eagles of Death Metal.

A shocked Aldean told his fans via Instagram that he and his band was safe.

“Tonight has been beyond horrific,” the singer wrote.

“It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”

Pope Francis said he was “deeply saddened” by the “senseless tragedy” while Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May called it an “appalling attack.”

Henry Sapiecha

Berlin: A German nurse serving a life sentence for murdering two of his patients is believed to have killed at least 86 others entrusted to his care, officials said Monday, in what they described as an imagination-defying series of crimes.

The nurse, identified as Niels Hoegel, was sentenced to life in prison in February 2015, after a court in the northern town of Oldenburg found him guilty of administering overdoses of heart medication to some patients in an intensive care ward in Delmenhorst.

He was convicted of two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and causing bodily harm to patients and is serving his sentence.

During his trial, the former nurse confessed to intentionally inducing cardiac crises in 90 of his patients, 30 of whom he said had died. That prompted officials to launch an investigation into the deaths of some 130 of Hoegel’s former patients. The results were presented Monday in Oldenburg.

At least 84 of the convicted killer’s former patients were found to have died after suffering from injections of five different forms of medication, Johan Kuehme, chief of police in Oldenburg, told reporters.

Authorities are waiting for the results of another 41 toxicology reports, the results of which could drive the number of confirmed deaths even higher, he said.

“The realisation of what we were able to learn is horrifying,” Kuehme told reporters. “It defies any scope of the imagination.”

Former nurse Niels Hoegel stands in the courtroom wearing handcuffs and covering his face with a file at the district court in Oldenburg, Germany image www.crimefiles.net

Hoegel, now 40, told the court at the time that he had enjoyed trying to revive the patients. But his efforts did not always succeed, leaving some to become his victims.

Former nurse Niels Hoegel, accused of multiple murder and attempted murder of patients, covering his face with a file at the district court in Oldenburg,Germany

The special commission, launched in October 2014, combed through evidence that included more than 500 patient files. It based its conclusions in part on toxicology tests on the remains of 134 possible victims, who were exhumed to see if they contained traces of the chemicals the nurse had confessed to using.

It found that Hoegel had administered lethal injections to patients at a hospital in Oldenburg, where he worked from 1999 to 2001.

In October 2016, prosecutors brought charges against six employees of the hospital in Delmenhorst, on suspicion of negligent manslaughter, for failing to take action despite their suspicion regarding the nurse’s actions.

A related investigation into hospital personnel in Oldenburg is continuing, but no one has been charged.

Niels Hoegel, face covered, was convicted in 2015 of two murders and two attempted murders at a clinic in the northwestern town of Delmenhorst.Germany.

Syria attacks: Autopsies ‘confirm chemical weapons used’ by Dictator Assard on his own people.Look into the child’s eyes you cowards.

assard-of-syria image www.crimefiles.netA Syrian doctor treats a child following Tuesday's chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria image www.crimefiles.net

The autopsies, conducted on three victims by Turkish doctors, provide the most concrete evidence to date for why more than 80 civilians – including about 30 children – were killed. The chemical used was most likely the deadly nerve agent sarin, the Turkish Health Ministry said.

“According to the preliminary results, the findings suggest that the patients were exposed to a chemical substance [Sarin],” the statement said.

Sarin is 20 times as deadly as cyanide. Within seconds of exposure noses run, tears form, mouths drool and vomit. If exposed to a high concentration, victim will convulse, become paralysed and die within 10 minutes.

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said that the World Health Organisation supervised the autopsies and that the results were sent to The Hague for further analysis.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem rejected the findings from Turkey, denying the government had used chemical weapons in the past and maintained that it never would.

At least 86 people were killed in the attack on the Syrian north-western town of Khan Sheikhoun, according to a tally from the health department in rebel-held Idlib Province, the New York Times reports. But the toll may not include victims evacuated to Turkey for treatment who have since died.

WHO experts took part in autopsies on victims of the chemical attack in a hospital in Adana, Turkey image www.crimefile.net

Meanwhile, demonstrations have erupted in London, New York, Los Angeles and parts of the United States against US President Donald Trump’s order to fire 59 missiles at a Syrian airbase early on Friday morning following the chemical attack.

The Syrian army claimed nine civilians, including four children, were killed in Friday’s aerial assault which, according to the Pentagon, were aimed at planes, depots and air-defence systems at the Shayrat Airfield.

Destroyed aircraft shelters on the south-east side of the Shayrat air base in Syria, following US strikes image www.crimefiles.net

The field, between Damascus and Homs, was hit with Tomahawk missiles fired from the USS Porter and USS Ross, two destroyers in the Mediterranean.

A statement from the Syrian army command described the attack as an act of “blatant aggression”, saying it had made the United States “a partner” of Islamic State, the ex-Nusra Front and other “terrorist organisations”.

The office of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, meanwhile, has called the US missile strike against the air base in central Homs “reckless” and “irresponsible”, Associated Press reported.

Only hours after the attack, two war planes took off from the central Syrian airbase and carried out bombing raids nearby, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, targeting territory controlled by IS.

A Syrian military source told Agence France-Presse that Syria’s armed forces were warned about possible US military action hours before the strike and a number of airplanes were moved to other areas. US officials said Russia’s military in Syria were informed beforehand in order to avoid casualties, AFP said.

This is the first time the US has directly targeted Assad’s forces. The Obama administration threatened to attack after previous chemical attacks, but did not.

Burnt and damaged hangars after they were attacked by US Tomahawk missiles image www.crimefiles.net

From his his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Trump said his decision had been prompted in part by what he called failures by the world community to respond effectively to the Syrian civil war.

“Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behaviour have all failed, and failed very dramatically. As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen, and the region continues to destabilise, threatening the United States and its allies.”

A Syrian doctor treats a child following Tuesday's chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria image www.crimefiles.net

But United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to parties involved in the Syrian conflict for calm to avoid adding to the suffering.

“Mindful of the risk of escalation, I appeal for restraint to avoid any acts that could deepen the suffering of the Syrian people,” he said.

President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach after the US fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria image www.crimefiles.net

The situation in Syria now “amounts to an international armed conflict” following the US missile strikes, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“Any military operation by a state on the territory of another without the consent of the other amounts to an international armed conflict,” ICRC spokeswoman Iolanda Jaquemet said in Geneva.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Ross fires a Tomahawk land attack missile towards Syria image www.crimefiles.net

“So according to available information – the US attack on Syrian military infrastructure – the situation amounts to an international armed conflict.”

Russian President Vladi­mir Putin called for an immediate meeting of the UN Security Council and his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, called the US missile strikes “violations of the norms of international law, and under a far-fetched pretext”.

US allies around the world expressed support, if sometimes cautiously, of Washington’s strikes on Syria.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the strikes sent “a vitally important message” that the world would not tolerate the use of chemical weapons. “The retribution has been proportionate and it has been swift,” he said. “We support the United States in that swift action.”

Britain, France and Japan all expressed support.

“The UK government fully supports the US action, which we believe was an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime and is intended to deter further attacks,” a British government spokesman said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged an investigation into who was responsible for the chemical attacks before the US strike, according to Canada’s Globe and Mail.

“There are continuing questions…that’s why I’m impressing on the United Nations Security Council to pass a strong resolution that allows the international community to determine first of all who was responsible for these attacks and how we will move forward,” he said.

Washington Post, Reuters, AP, with Tammy Mills

swedens-truck-murders-scene image www.crimefiles.net

A truck ploughed into a crowd on a shopping street and crashed into a department store in central Stockholm on Friday, killing four people and wounding 15 in what the Swedish prime minister said appeared to be a terrorist attack.

Police said they had detained one person in a northern Stockholm suburb after earlier circulating a picture of a man wearing a grey hoodie in connection with the investigation into the attack on Drottninggatan (Queen Street) using a hijacked beer truck, which happened at around 2.45pm local time.

The scene shortly after a truck crashed into a department store in central Stockholm image www.crimefiles.net

Local authorities in the capital said early Saturday that six of the injured had been able to leave hospital while eight adults and one child remained hospitalised.

Swedish public broadcaster SVT reported police had detained a second man and that he had a connection to the previously arrested person, citing police sources. The police declined to comment on whether it had arrested any additional suspects.

Prosecutors ordered the man arrested on suspicion of terror crime through the act of murder. He was arrested on the highest level of suspicion in the Swedish legal system.

The man police had said was wanted in connection with a truck attack in central Stockholm image www.crimefiles.net

Jan Evensson of the Stockholm police said the man who was arrested looked like the person in the surveillance camera photo above.

An injured person is helped by passers-by sweden truck murders image www.crimefiles.net

“Our message will always be clear: you will not defeat us, you will not govern our lives, you will never, ever win,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who had earlier described the assault as a terrorist attack, told a news conference.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Aftonbladet, a daily newspaper, reported a man with light injuries had been arrested in north Stockholm after claiming he was responsible for carrying out the attack.

According to The Telegraph, London, reports indicated that the suspected attacker was a 39-year-old father-of-four from Uzbekistan.

Some reports suggested he had previously posted jihadist propaganda on his Facebook page and had images of people injured in the explosion at the Boston Marathon in April 2013.

A police spokesperson declined to comment on the information.

Police said security at Swedish borders had been heightened. They did not rule out the possibility other attackers were involved.

Aussie tourist: ‘I saw a big truck coming towards me’

“I turned around and saw a big truck coming towards me. It swerved from side to side. It didn’t look out of control. It was trying to hit people,” Glen Foran, an Australian tourist in his 40s, told Reuters.

“It hit people; it was terrible. It hit a pram with a kid in it, demolished it,” he said.

“It took a long time for police to get here. I suppose from their view it was quick, but it felt like forever.”

The area of the attack in central Stockholm was evacuated, including the main rail station, and remained cordoned off late on Friday. All subway traffic was halted on police orders and government offices were closed.

A Reuters witness at the scene saw police officers put what appeared to be two bodies into body bags.

Bloody tyre tracks showed the path of the truck, which was stolen by a masked hijacker while making a beer delivery to a tapas bar further up Drottninggatan, according to Spendrups Brewery spokesman Marten Lyth.

“We were standing by the traffic lights at Drottninggatan and then we heard some screaming and saw a truck coming,” a witness who declined to be named told Reuters.

“Then it drove into a pillar at (department store) Ahlens City, where the hood started burning. When it stopped we saw a man lying under the tyre. It was terrible to see,” said the man, who saw the incident from his car.

Police said four people had died and 15 were injured. National news agency TT said those hurt included the delivery driver, who had tried to stop the hijack.

Pretty cunning modus operandi

Several attacks in which trucks or cars have driven into crowds have taken place in Europe in the past year.

Al Qaeda in 2010 urged its followers to use trucks as a weapon. Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack in Nice, France, last July, when a truck killed 86 people celebrating Bastille Day, and one in Berlin in December, when a truck smashed through a Christmas market, killing 12 people.

“Hijacking a truck, that has happened before,” Magnus Ranstorp, head of terrorism research at the Swedish Defence University, told Reuters.

“And this is a pretty cunning modus operandi. To drive to Ahlens and stop … There is a way down to the subway just a few metres away from there, and then you … can jump on any train you want and quickly disappear.”

Stockholmers opened up their homes and offered lifts to people who were unable to get home or needed a place to stay.

“Our thoughts are going out to those that were affected, and to their families,” Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf said in a statement, while European Union chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker said an attack on any of the bloc’s member states “is an attack on us all”.

The attack was the latest to hit the Nordic region after shootings in Danish capital Copenhagen in 2015 that killed three people and the 2011 bombing and shooting by far right extremist Anders Behring Breivik that killed 77 people in Norway.

Sweden has not seen a large-scale attack, although in December 2010 a failed suicide bombing killed the attacker only a few hundred yards from the site of Friday’s incident.

In February, US President Donald Trump falsely suggested there had been an immigration-related security incident in Sweden, to the bafflement of Swedes.

Swedish authorities raised the national security threat level to four on a scale of five in October 2010 but lowered the level to three, indicating a “raised threat”, in March 2016.

Police in Norway’s largest cities and at Oslo airport will carry weapons until further notice following the attack. Denmark has been on high alert since the February 2015 shootings. Traffic was restricted on the Oresund Bridge linking Denmark and Sweden at the request of Swedish police.

Neutral Sweden has not fought a war in more than 200 years, but its military has taken part in UN peacekeeping missions in a number of conflict zones in recent years, including Iraq, Mali and Afghanistan.

The Sapo security police said in its annual report it was impossible to say how big a risk there was that Sweden would be targeted like other European cities, but that, if so “it is most likely that it would be undertaken by a lone attacker”.

The Telegraph, London and Reuters

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Young children are being armed with guns and forced to carry out violent executions of prisoners as junior jihadis, according to a disturbing new ISIS [Daesh] propaganda report.

Isis-child-soliders-killers image www.crimefiles.netA chilling article entitled The Lions of Tomorrow, published in the official magazine of terror group, boasts of Daesh using of “the children.. of jihad” in its bloody insurgency in Syria and Iraq. It’s illustrated by two young boys holding guns in accompanying photos.

“It is these young lions to whom the Islamic State [ISIS or Daesh] recently handed over two agents caught spying for Russian Intelligence and an agent caught spying for the Israeli Mossad, to be executed and displayed as an example to anyone else thinking of infiltrating the mujahideen [jihad fighters],” the article states.

In the first photo, what appears to be the dead body of a bearded man in orange clothing with a blood-spattered face lies in the foreground. An armed pre-pubescent boy in camouflage clothing, a black bandana and a backpack stands behind him, staring straight ahead.

In the second photo, an even smaller boy with shoulder-length black hair – who looks as young as six or seven – stands with a gun behind an identifiable person kneeling on the ground with their hands behind their back.

The terror group attempts to justify its use of children in warfare with references to the Islamic faith. It has previously released video footage of children being trained at terror camps, which experts say is an attempt to make its influence and might appear stronger.

“As the mujahideen of the Islamic State continue their march against the forces of [infidels] there is a new generation waiting in the wings, eagerly anticipating the day that it is called upon to take up the banner of man [higher level of faith],” states the propaganda article.

“These are the children of the [nation] of jihad, a generation raised join the lands of [fierce battles] and nurtured under the shade of Shari’ah, just a stone’s throw from the frontlines.”

The article in the latest issue of Dabiq, an online magazine produced by ISIS’s media wing Al Hayat, says institutes have been established to train and hone the military skills of these “lion cubs”.

The use of child soldiers, who are often brainwashed, desensitised to violence and death and irrevocably traumatised by their experiences, is a well-established tactic by terror groups.

Daesh shows a toddler brandishing a toy sub-machine gun image www.crimefiles.net

What is ‘Daesh’?

Earlier this year Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said he will use the term ‘Daesh’ instead of ‘Isil death cult’ when referring to the Islamic State terrorist organisation.

Australia’s allies in the Middle East have reportedly encouraged the move saying that the terrorist group reportedly loathe the moniker Daesh – which is also an acronym, but of the Arabic words that mean the same thing as ISIS: Al Dawla al-Islamyia fil Iraq wa’al Sham.

Pronounced Da’ish – with a long emphasis on the long “e” – Mr Abbott aims to further neuter the term by mispronouncing it “Dash”.

“Daesh hates being referred to by this term, and what they don’t like has an instinctive ­appeal to me,” the Australian prime minister told the Herald Sun.

“I absolutely refuse to refer to it by the title that it claims for itself [Islamic State], because I think this is a perversion of religion and a travesty of governance.”

Joseph Bahout, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told The Huffington Post that the word Daesh in Arabic “sounds like something monstrous” and is a way of “stigmatising” the organisiation.

The terror group’s leaders have threatened to “cut out the tongues” of those who refer to them as Daesh or DAIISH, according to international media reports.

In a move that is aimed at legitimising the group and removing the word “Islamic” from their title French president, François Hollande, is also pushing the use of Daesh when referring to the group.

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AN OLD friend of accused Melbourne killer Dimitrious ‘Jimmy’ Gargasoulas has revealed his father called her an “Australian sl*t”.

Ms Bland said the driver’s father was very strict image www.crimefiles.net

Ms Bland said the driver’s father was very strict.

Alisha Bland, former girlfriend of the driver’s half-brother George, told news.com.au the family “didn’t accept her because she wasn’t Greek.”

Ms Bland, 30, said Gargasoulas’s mother Emily would ‘get on the phone telling her to leave George alone. image www.crimefiles.net

Ms Bland, 30, said Gargasoulas’s mother Emily would ‘get on the phone telling her to leave George alone.’

She said the boys’ father Chris told her over the phone, “You’re nothing but an Aussie sl*t, and Aussies are for a good time not a long time”, and that the driver’s mother Emily would “get on the phone telling me to leave George alone”.

Ms Bland, 30, added: “They even accused me of trying to get pregnant to steal his inheritance.”

Gargasoulas grew up here in Coober Pedy, but the home burned down ten years ago and was replaced with a car port image wwwcrimefiles.net

Gargasoulas grew up here in Coober Pedy, but the home burned down ten years ago and was replaced with a car port

She “couldn’t believe it” when she heard Gargasoulas had allegedly mowed down pedestrians in Melbourne’s CBD on Friday, killing five people, including two children, and injuring 15.

Gargasoulas allegedly mowed down pedestrians in Melbourne city centre, killing five, including two children, and injuring 15 image www.crimefiles.net

Gargasoulas allegedly mowed down pedestrians in Melbourne city centre, killing five, including two children, and injuring 15

She used to speak to him on the phone when he was a teenager living in Coober Pedy, South Australia, and she was dating his older half-brother George.

Emily Gargasoulas said she wanted her son to ‘die in hell’.image www.crimefiles.net

Emily Gargasoulas said she wanted her son to ‘die in hell’

Chris Gargasoulas said he would ‘scratch his son off his books’.image www.crimefiles.net

Chris Gargasoulas said he would ‘scratch his son off his books’.

Akiir Muo, girlfriend and alleged hostage of Gargasoulas. image www.crimefiles.net

Akiir Muo, girlfriend and alleged hostage of Gargasoulas. Picture: Yuri Kouzmin

Ms Bland said she did not believe Gargasoulas’s alleged actions were related to extremism, and the family had nothing to do with radical Islam. Police have also ruled out a terrorism connection.

“From what I know Dimitri started believing he was God and started rambling about Islam,” she said.

She said Gargasoulas, his brother Angelo and their mother Emily moved to Melbourne a few years ago to support the kids’ half-brother George after his mother died. The family home in Coober Pedy burned down 10 years ago and was replaced with a makeshift house made from a car port. Locals said the 26-year-old would often visit and was last in town with girlfriend Akiir Muo, staying for a few months before leaving late last year. Strange cars would often pull up at their home at all hours of the night, stay briefly and then take off.

The 26-year-old driver allegedly stabbed Angelo at their mother’s public housing apartment before he headed out on his alleged rampage, with his 25-year-old pregnant girlfriend Ms Muo allegedly held hostage.

Gargasoulas allegedly stabbed his brother Angelo, pictured, who is gay, before going on a rampage image www.crimefiles.net

Gargasoulas allegedly stabbed his brother Angelo, pictured, who is gay, before going on a rampage.

Ms Bland dated the alleged killer’s half-brother George when Gargasoulas was a teenager.image www.crimefiles.net

Ms Bland dated the alleged killer’s half-brother George when Gargasoulas was a teenager.

Gargasoulas with sister Sesimani Kostaras and brother Angelo in happier times image www.crimefiles.net

Gargasoulas with sister Sesimani Kostaras and brother Angelo in happier times.

“I’d presume once he left Coober Pedy to Melbourne he probably mixed with the wrong crowd, he stabbed his brother because Angelo is gay,” said Ms Bland. “Dimitri was very homophobic.

“Dimitri’s girlfriend is five months’ pregnant with his fourth or fifth child.

“Apparently he stopped seeing his kids.”

The couple had only been dating about five months. Gargasoulas posted a series of homophobic and semi-religious rants on his Facebook page, which has now been removed.

The accounts of his mother Emily, brother Angelo and half-brother George have also been removed from the social network. According to Ms Bland, Emily only had photos of Angelo, none of Dimitrious.

Ms Bland last spoke to George on Monday over Facebook and said she was worried about how he is coping and is desperately trying to get in touch with him.

www.intelagencies.com

www.clublibido.com.au

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Henry Sapiecha

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