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British woman stabbed while travelling in tram in Jerusalem

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Jerusalem, April 15: In a shocking murder, a British woman was brutally stabbed to death by a Palestinian man on a tram in Jerusalem on Friday. She has been named as 21-year-old University of Birmingham student Hannah Bladon.

Bladon was stabbed several times in the chest when she was on a tram in Tzahal Square and who succumbed to death in hospital.

Israel Palestinians

Emergency services and police are seen at the scene of an stabbing attack in Jerusalem Friday, April 14, 2017. A Palestinian stabbed a young British tourist to death in Jerusalem Friday near the Old City that was packed with Christians celebrating Good Friday and Jews celebrating Passover, police and hospital officials said Friday. Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center said the woman died soon after she was rushed there following the attack on Friday despite efforts to save her. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Meanwhile, a 57-year-old Palestinian man was detained at the scene, BBC reported.

She commenced her studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in January 2017 as part of a student exchange programme. She was about to complete the programme in September.

The Hebrew University offered its condolences to Bladon’s family, saying in an official statement that “the university condemns such acts of terror and murder that hurt innocents who have come to Jerusalem to enrich their knowledge.”

Emergency services evacuate an injured person from the scene of an stabbing attack in Jerusalem Friday, April 14, 2017. A Palestinian stabbed a young British tourist to death in Jerusalem Friday near the Old City that was packed with Christians celebrating Good Friday and Jews celebrating Passover, police and hospital officials said Friday. Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center said the woman died soon after she was rushed there following the attack on Friday despite efforts to save her. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Bladon had been taking classes in bible studies, archaeology and Hebrew at the Rothberg International School, part of The Hebrew University.

The school said: “Her friends described her as an inquisitive and adventurous student who made the most of her opportunity to learn and experience life in Israel.”

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri informed that the attacker, who holds an Israeli ID, was released from a psychiatric hospital in northern Israel shortly before the incident. He was on going to his home in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Ras al-Amud in East Jerusalem.

An off-duty policeman travelling on the tram is said to have pulled an emergency brake and then overpowered the attacker with the help of another passenger.

 

However, a statement released by Israel Security Agency Shin Bet called the suspect a “terrorist,” saying he might have carried out the attack in an attempt to get killed by the police.

“He recently tried to commit suicide, in a hospital in northern Israel, by swallowing a razor blade,” Xinhua news agency quoted the agency as saying in the statement.

“In 2011, he was convicted of sexually abusing his daughter,” it added.

A man and a pregnant woman, who apparently sustained injuries when the rail went into an emergency brake, also needed hospital care, according to a spokesman for the MDA, an Israeli emergency medical service company.

The rail service in the city was temporarily suspended, said a statement by Citipass, the company that operates the rail.

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin expressed grief over the killing and said that his thoughts and prayers were with the family of the victim.

The attack came amid the Jewish holiday of Passover.

The police in the city have been on high alert as tens of thousands of Jews arrive for prayers in the Western Wall inside East Jerusalem’s Old City, and some even go to visit the flashpoint al-Aqsa compound, a hilltop site above the Western Wall regarded as sacred by both Muslims and Jews.

The incident comes amid a spate of violence that broke out in September 2015.

As the unrest spread, Palestinians have killed 41 Israelis and two US nationals, while Israeli forces and civilians killed at least 241 Palestinians, a Jordanian and two African asylum seekers, most of them alleged attackers, according to Israel.

Wefornews Bureau

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Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving officially ends

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Saudi Women Driving

Riyadh, June 24 : Saudi women can legally get behind the wheel of a car for the first time Sunday as the Kingdom lifts its decades-old ban on women driving.

The change was announced last September and Saudi Arabia issued the first licences to women earlier this month, BBC reported on Sunday.

It was the only country left in the world where women could not drive and families had to hire private chauffeurs for female relatives.

However, the move comes amid an intensified crackdown on activists who campaigned for the right to drive.

At least eight women’s rights activists are being detained and could face trial in a counter-terrorism court and long prison sentences for their activism, human rights group Amnesty says.

They include Loujain al-Hathloul, a well-known figure in the campaign for women’s driving rights.

Amnesty has also called for wider reforms in Saudi Arabia, where women remain subject to male guardianship laws.

Human rights groups in the kingdom have campaigned for years to allow women to drive.

Dozens of women were arrested for driving in Riyadh in 1990 and some Saudi women began posting videos of themselves at the wheel in 2008, and between 2011 and 2014.

Thousands of women could soon take to the roads.

“It is a historic moment for every Saudi woman,” Saudi television presenter said.

She said she was behind the wheel minutes after the end of the driving ban at midnight local time (21:00 GMT Saturday).

“Those days of waiting long hours for a driver are over,” said pharmacy student Hatoun bin Dakhil, 21. “We no longer need a man.”

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President of Zimbabwe survives ‘assassination attempt’ in Bulawayo

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Cairo, June 24:Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has survived an assassination attempt when he was addressing thousands at his ruling ZANU-PF party election campaign rally in the city of Bulawayo on Saturday.

The Zimbabwean president said he narrowly survived an attempt on his life after a explosion at a party rally that injured two of his vice-presidents and several party officials.

He said an object “exploded a few inches away from me – but it is not my time”.

In a message on Twitter, Mnangagwa called the explosion a “senseless act of violence”.

“The campaign has been conducted in a free and peaceful environment, and we will not allow this cowardly act to get in our way as we move towards elections,” he wrote.

Egypt condemns attack

Egypt has condemned the attack on a rally of Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he was addressing an electoral campaign, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The statement on Saturday expressed Egypt’s solidarity “with the Zimbabwean government and people to achieve security and stability in the country”.

“Egypt is comfort with the failure of such a sinful attack and the survival of the Zimbabwean president,” said the statement.

Earlier on Saturday, Egypt condemned a failed attempt to “assassinate” Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during a mass rally in the capital Addis Ababa, which left at least three people dead and more than 160 injured.

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South Korean former PM Kim Jong-pil dies at 92

Before becoming Prime Minister for the first time, the retired military leader and father of two created and ran the Korean Intelligence Agency and later headed the then ruling Democratic Republican Party.

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PM Kim Jong-pil

Seoul, June 23 (IANS) Former South Korean Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil died here on Saturday at the age of 92 while being taken to a hospital.

Kim, considered among the most influential politicians in the country in previous decades, served as Prime Minister on two occasions, between 1971 and 1975, and between 1998 and 2000, Yonhap agency reported.

Born in 1926, Kim graduated from the Korea Military Academy and played an important role in the 1961 military coup led by former President Park Chung-hee, who ruled the country with an iron fist until his assassination in 1979.

Before becoming Prime Minister for the first time, the retired military leader and father of two created and ran the Korean Intelligence Agency and later headed the then ruling Democratic Republican Party.

Besides holding government posts, the influential and conservative politician served as lawmaker on nine occasions until his retirement in 2004.

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