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Jerusalem shooting: 8 wounded as gunman fires at bus near Western Wall



A gunman has opened fire on a bus near the Old City of Jerusalem, wounding eight people, including a pregnant woman, in a terrorist attack that comes a week after fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip left 49 Palestinians dead.

Two people are in a serious condition after the pre-dawn shooting spree on Sunday. The pregnant woman’s baby was delivered by emergency caesarean section after she suffered abdominal wounds, and a man with gunshot wounds to the head and neck also remains in hospital, according to doctors treating them.

A family of four from the US who had been waiting for a taxi were among the casualties, according to Israeli media. The US ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, confirmed that several American citizens were among the wounded, but did not disclose details, citing privacy concerns.

Local media reported that suspect Amir Sidawi, a 26-year-old resident of occupied East Jerusalem, targeted a public bus as the driver was helping a disabled woman board at a bus station near the Green Line which divides the holy city. He also shot at passing cars and pedestrians further up the street.

“I was coming from the Western Wall. The bus was full of passengers,” driver Daniel Kanievsky told reporters in front of his bullet-riddled vehicle.

“I stopped at the station of the Tomb of David. At this moment, the shooting started. I saw two people outside falling, two inside were bleeding. Everybody panicked.”

After the suspect fled on foot to the nearby neighbourhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem, Israeli security forces sealed a large area and launched a manhunt using helicopters.

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Later on Sunday, police said Sidawi turned himself in after arriving at a police station in a taxi. He had reportedly been worried about consequences for his family after three relatives, including his mother, were arrested in the wake of the attack.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting, the Israeli prime minister, Yair Lapid, said the suspect had operated alone and that he had previously been arrested by Israeli police. The caretaker leader had earlier warned in a statement that “all those who seek us harm should know that they will pay a price”.

Israeli investigators inspect the bus after the shooting. Photograph: Ammar Awad/Reuters

The Jerusalem shootings come a week after the end of a three-day conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the second largest militant group in the blockaded Gaza Strip after Hamas.

A surprise Israeli offensive, which the country said was meant to thwart threats from the group to respond to the arrest of a senior commander in the occupied West Bank, was met with retaliatory rocket fire from Islamic Jihad targeting southern Israel.

Forty-nine Palestinians, including 17 children and 14 militants, were killed and several hundred injured in the fighting, which ended with an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire. No Israeli was killed or seriously injured, and the conflict did not spiral into all-out war because Hamas, which controls the strip, decided to stay on the sidelines.

On Monday, a day after the truce, Israeli troops also killed three Palestinian militants and wounded dozens of people in a shootout that erupted during an arrest raid in the West Bank city of Nablus.

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In a statement, Hamas praised Sunday’s shootings in Jerusalem, calling it a “heroic operation” without claiming responsibility.

Tariq Izz a-Din, a member of Islamic Jihad, called the attack “the reaction to the Israeli aggression against Gaza”.

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Breaking: Aborted coup in Burkina Faso



• Captain Ibrahim Traoré head of Burkina Faso junta

• Junta says its intelligence and security services have foiled a coup attempt

An attempted coup in Burkina Faso was thwarted on Tuesday by security and intelligence services, the ruling junta announced on Wednesday.

It did not provide specifics or the name of the coup plotters, but said arrests have been made, while manhunt has begun for other collaborators.

In a statement it said officers and others had planned to destabilise the country with “the dark intention of attacking the institutions of the Republic and plunging our country in chaos.”

“Investigations will help unmask the instigators of this plot,” the junta said.

The junta on Monday suspended French news magazine Jeune Afrique for publishing “untruthful” articles that reported tension and discontent within Burkina Faso’s armed forces.

The next day thousands of pro-junta demonstrators took to the streets of the capital Ouagadougou and elsewhere to show their support, citing rumours of a brewing mutiny against the authorities.

The junta came to power after two military coups last year, triggered in part by worsening insurgency by armed groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State that has destabilised Burkina Faso and its neighbours in West Africa’s Sahel region.

Over 50 Burkinabe soldiers and volunteer fighters were killed in clashes with militants in early September – the heaviest losses in months.

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56,000 schools shut over eye virus outbreak



A patient suffering from an eye infection gets examined by a doctor at a hospital in Lahore on September 27, 2023. More than 56,000 Pakistan schools will shut for the remainder of the week in a bid to curb a mass outbreak of a contagious eye virus, officials said on September 27. – AFP photo.

More than 56,000 Pakistan schools will shut for the rest of the week in a bid to curb a mass outbreak of a contagious eye virus, officials said Wednesday.

Millions of students will stay home from tomorrow after Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, announced blanket closures having recorded 357,000 conjunctivitis cases since the start of the year.

The fast-spreading eye infection causes redness, itchiness and discharge from the eyes and contamination can spread through hand contact, as well as coughing and sneezing.

“The closure has been announced as a proactive measure to give maximum protection to students against the infection,” Punjab Education Department spokesman Zulfiqar Ali told AFP.

There are 127,000,000 residents in eastern Punjab province and 56,000 state schools, as well as thousands of independent schools also subject to the shutdown.

“We hope this will break the cycle of the infection in the province,” Ali said.

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Army put on standby as UK Police hand in weapon



• UK police officer holding his firearms

The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence is offering soldiers to support armed police in London after dozens of police officers stood down from firearms duties, BBC reports.

More than 100 officers have turned in permits allowing them to carry weapons, a source told the BBC, in support of a fellow officer who has been charged with murder over the fatal shooting of a young Black man, Chris Kaba.

The officer, named only as NX121, who appeared in court last week, has been charged over the death of Chris Kaba in September 2022.

Kaba died hours after he was struck by a single gunshot fired into the vehicle he was driving in the Streatham area of South London.

It later emerged that the Audi Mr Kaba was driving, which did not belong to him, had been linked by police to a gun incident the day before.

His death prompted a number of protests and renewed allegations of racism within the force.

The Ministry of Defence said it received a request, known as Military Aid to the Civil Authorities, from the Home Office to “provide routine counter-terrorism contingency support to the Metropolitan Police, should it be needed”.

A MACA is offered to the police or the NHS in emergency situations. The military helped medical staff in the Covid pandemic and covered for striking border staff and paramedics last year.

The Met said it was a “contingency option” that would only be used “in specific circumstances and where an appropriate policing response was not available”.

Military staff would not be used “in a routine policing capacity”, it added.

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On Saturday, the Met said its own officers still make up the vast majority of armed police in the capital but they were being supported by a limited number of firearms officers from neighbouring forces.

Announcing the review, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said the public “depend on our brave firearms officers to protect us”.

“In the interest of public safety they have to make split-second decisions under extraordinary pressures.”

She said that officers have her “full backing”.

“I will do everything in my power to support them,” she added.

In his letter to the home secretary, the Met Police commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, said that a system where officers are investigated for “safely pursuing suspects” should not have been allowed to develop.

Sir Mark said he would “make no comment” on any ongoing legal matters, but “the issues raised in this letter go back further”.

He said firearms officers are concerned that they will face years of legal proceedings, “even if they stick to the tactics and training they have been given”.

“Officers need sufficient legal protection to enable them to do their job and keep the public safe, and the confidence that it will be applied consistently and without fear or favour,” he wrote.

But in instances where officers act improperly, Sir Mark said the system “needs to move swiftly” rather than “tying itself in knots pursuing good officers through multiple legal processes”.

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