Tag Archives: wounds

Yemeni officials say blast at Aden airport kills 22, wounds 50

A large explosion struck the airport in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on Wednesday, shortly after a plane carrying the newly formed cabinet landed there, security officials said. At least 22 people were killed and 50 were wounded in the blast.

The source of the explosion was not immediately clear and no group claimed responsibility for attacking the airport. No one on the government plane was hurt.

Officials later reported another explosion close to a palace in the city where the cabinet members were transferred following the airport attack.

AP footage from the scene at the airport showed members of the government delegation disembarking as the blast shook the grounds. Many ministers rushed back inside the plane or ran down the stairs, seeking shelter.

Thick smoke rose into the air from near the terminal building. Officials at the scene said they saw bodies lying on the tarmac and elsewhere at the airport.

Yemeni Communication Minister Naguib al-Awg, who was also on the plane, told The Associated Press that he heard two explosions, suggesting they were drone attacks.

Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed and the others were quickly whisked from the airport to Mashiq Palace in the city.

Military and security forces sealed off the area around the the palace.

“It would have been a disaster if the plane was bombed,” al-Awg said, insisting the plane was the target of the attack as it was supposed to land earlier.

Saeed tweeted that he and his cabinet were safe and unhurt. He called the explosions a “cowardly terrorist act” that was part of the war on “the Yemeni state and our great people.”

Death toll rises

Mohammed al-Roubid, deputy head of Aden’s health office, told the AP that at least 16 people were killed in the explosion and 60 were wounded. Later, the Interior Ministry raised the casualty toll to at least 22 dead and 50 wounded.

Images shared on social media from the scene showed rubble and broken glass strewn about near the airport building and at least two lifeless bodies, one of them charred, lying on the ground.

In another image, a man was trying to help another man whose clothes were torn to get up from the ground.

According to one Yemeni security official, three Red Cross workers were among the wounded. It was not clear if they were Yemenis or of other nationalities. He and other officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

People run following an explosion at the airport in Aden, Yemen, shortly after a plane carrying the newly formed cabinet landed on Wednesday. (The Associated Press)

Officials said another explosion hit close to the heavily fortified Mashiq Palace, where the cabinet members were taken following the explosion at the airport.

The source of that blast and whether it occurred before or after the cabinet members arrived was not immediately known. There were no immediate reports of fatalities and the officials said the cabinet members arrived safely.

UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, condemned the explosion as an “unacceptable act of violence.” He said in a tweet that it was “a tragic reminder of the importance of bringing #Yemen urgently back on the path towards peace.”

Egypt, Jordan and the Arab League also condemned the attacks.

Returning from Riyadh

The ministers were returning to Aden from the Saudi capital, Riyadh, after being sworn in last week as part of a reshuffle following a deal with rival southern separatists.

Yemen’s internationally recognized government has worked mostly from self-imposed exile in Riyadh during the country’s years-long civil war.

The Saudi ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed al-Jaber, described the attack as a “cowardly terrorist act targeting the Yemeni people, their security and stability.”

Despite “the disappointment and confusion caused by those who create death and destruction,” the peace agreement between the government and southern separatists “will go forward,” he insisted.

Yemen’s embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, in exile in Saudi Arabia, announced a cabinet reshuffle earlier this month.

The reshuffle was seen as a major step toward closing a dangerous rift between Hadi’s government and southern separatists backed by the United Arab Emirates.

The Saudi-backed government is at war with with Iran-allied Houthi rebels, who control most of northern Yemen as well as the country’s capital, Sanaa.

Bystanders and a soldier stand near a damaged portion of the airport of Yemen’s southern city of Aden’s after Wednesday’s explosion. (Majid Saleh/The Associated Press)

Country engulfed in civil war

Naming a new government was part of a power-sharing deal between the Saudi-backed Hadi and the Emirati-backed separatist Southern Transitional Council, an umbrella group of militias seeking to restore an independent southern Yemen, which existed from 1967 until unification in 1990.

The blast underscores the dangers facing Hadi’s government in the port city, which was a scene of bloody fighting between forces of the internationally recognized government and the U.A.E.-backed separatists.

In a video message posted on his Twitter account later, Saeed, the Yemeni prime minister, said his government was in Aden “to stay.” The city has been the seat of Hadi’s government since Houthi rebels overran the capital Sanaa in 2014.

Last year, the Houthis fired a missile at a military parade of newly graduated fighters of a militia loyal to the U.A.E. at a military base in Aden, killing dozens.

In 2015, then-Yemeni Prime Minister Khaled Bahah and members of his government survived a missile attack, blamed on the Houthis, on an Aden hotel used by the government.

Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, has been engulfed in civil war since 2014, when the Shia Houthi rebels overran the north and Sanaa. The following year, a Saudi-led military coalition intervened to wage war on the Houthis and restore Hadi’s government to power.

The war has killed more than 112,000, including thousands of civilians. The conflict also resulted in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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Car bombing in western Afghanistan kills 13, wounds 120

A suicide car bombing on Sunday killed at least 13 people and wounded around 120 others in Afghanistan’s western Ghor province, officials said.

The head of a hospital in Ghor, Mohammad Omer Lalzad, said emergency staff were treating dozens of people with both serious and light injuries from the bombing. He expected the death toll to rise.

Interior Ministry spokesperson Tariq Aran said the car bombing struck near the entrance of the provincial police chief’s office and other nearby government buildings in the area.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Ghor, which comes amid an uptick in attacks by the Taliban as representatives of the group and Afghan government officials hold their first-ever face-to-face talks in Qatar, where the Taliban have had a political office for many years. The negotiations are meant to end decades of war. in Afghanistan.

Arif Aber, spokesperson for the provincial governor in Ghor, said the blast was so strong that its sound could heard across Feroz Koh, the capital city of the province.

“It damaged and partially destroyed a few government buildings, including the police chief’s office, the women’s affairs department and the provincial office for refugees,” Aber said.

Peace talks ongoing

On Friday, the Taliban agreed to suspend attacks in southern Afghanistan, which displaced thousands of residents in recent days. That came after the U.S. vowed to halt all airstrikes and night raids in keeping with the peace agreement the U.S. signed with the Taliban in February.

The U.S. had been conducting airstrikes in support of Afghan forces trying to repel Taliban assaults in Helmand province, which threatened to derail the efforts to end Afghanistan’s war.

The peace talks in Qatar between the Taliban and Afghan government negotiators began in September, but after a ceremonious start became bogged down, mainly in the minutiae of Islamic jurisprudence.

While successful negotiations are seen as critical to ending the fighting, the withdrawal of American troops relies on the Taliban honouring its commitments from the February accord to not support terror groups and fight all militants, most specifically the region’s affiliate of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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Police enforcement of physical distancing measures exposes old wounds in New York

Donna Wright gets anxious at the mere mention of the video showing her son being slapped and dragged on the ground during a violent confrontation with police.

“Each and every time I think about it, it sends chills down my spine to think that [a] human being would be so brutal to another human being,” Wright said.

On May 2, Wright’s 33-year-old son Donni was in the East Village neighbourhood of Manhattan watching officers arrest two people for not abiding by social distancing guidelines. The video shows one officer breaking away from the arrest to confront a group of bystanders, including Wright.

Police say Donni Wright took a fighting stance. The video shows the officer punch and slap Wright, take him down, then pin his head and neck to the ground with his knee.

“I’m not one to bash cops, but I’m so sick of it. I wouldn’t want any mother to go through what I’m feeling,” said Wright, who said her son has been in constant physical and emotional pain since the incident.

Donni Wright was charged with a number of offences, including assaulting a police officer, obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest.

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, left, has defended his force’s handling of enforcement of physical distancing guidelines. (Brendan McDermind/Reuters)

The viral video has become a flashpoint in a debate over how the New York Police Department enforces physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has led to protests in the streets.

It is also one of a handful of recent incidents that have reignited anger over how New York police deals with minority communities, and sparked local and state investigations into whether certain groups are being unfairly targeted for enforcement of physical distancing guidelines. 

When enforcement turns violent

Another video shows a mother being arrested in front of her child for improperly wearing a mask on the subway.

A man was violently taken down as police broke up a cookout in a predominantly African American and Hispanic neighbourhood. In another incident in the same area, a man was knocked unconscious as police tried to break up a group of people who were clustered together.

Critics of the police department and public officials say the incidents show a racial disparity in how social distancing guidelines are enforced across the city.

“This is an epidemic of police brutality during this horrible pandemic,” said Wright’s lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, who has called for a criminal investigation into the officer.

Of all U.S. cities, New York has been the hardest hit during the pandemic, with close to 190,000 novel coronavirus cases and more than 20,000 confirmed and probable deaths from COVID-19.

To deter the spread of the virus, city residents are required to keep about two metres away from others and not gather in groups.

“There’s nothing about black and brown people that is inherently making us not follow social distancing,” said Anthonine Pierre, a community organizer and member of Communities United for Police Reform. She called the police’s approach “targeted harassment.”

NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea has pushed back strongly on the accusation that the recent incidents are emblematic of “racist policing,” pointing out that the majority of the force is made up of minorities and that prior to the pandemic, arrests and summonses were at or near historic lows.

“I, as the police commissioner, will not stand for excessive force, nor will I stand and defend indefensible actions,” Shea said during a recent press conference. “But I will also not have my police department called a racist police department.”

‘A tale of two cities’

Facing increased public pressure over the viral videos, the NYPD released statistics around its enforcement of physical distancing. The numbers show that between March 16 and May 5, police issued 374 summonses (equivalent to a ticket) related to physical distancing. Of those, 304 went to black and Hispanic men and women.

Shea defended the numbers, saying they arose from a small number of incidents, but admitted that work needs to be done to improve the relationship between police and minority communities.

“We have to make sure we’re impartial in how we enforce the law. I’m going to take a look at every incident and call it as I see it,” Shea said.

WATCH | Donni Wright viral video:

This video from May 2 shows a New York police officer violently arresting a man after a confrontation over physical distancing guidelines. 2:18

Mayor Bill de Blasio described the number of summonses as “extraordinarily low” for a city of 8.6 million across six weeks but also said, “we don’t accept disparity. When we see disparity, we’re going to address it.”

In the New York borough of Brooklyn, the district attorney’s office said that between March 17 and May 4, there were 40 arrests for violations of physical distancing guidelines — 35 of them involve blacks, four of them were Hispanics and one person arrested was white. All the arrests took place in majority-minority neighbourhoods, areas with a population density comparable to other parts of the borough. 

“It does show this is definitely a tale of two cities,” said Rev. Kevin McCall, a community activist who led a protest caravan through Brooklyn after the Donni Wright arrest. 

The recent incidents and the disparities in the statistics have sparked investigations by the state’s attorney general and the Brooklyn district attorney, who has said he won’t prosecute low-level infractions during the pandemic.

History of distrust

There is a long history of distrust between the police and minority communities in New York, most recently surrounding the force’s stop-and-frisk policy. The warrantless police stops, which peaked in 2011 but have since declined after legal action, were shown to predominantly target African Americans and Hispanics, the majority of whom turned out not to be guilty of a crime.

Pierre said the recent statistics correlate with the disproportionate enforcement that has happened in black communities outside of the COVID-19 crisis, as demonstrated by the stop-and-frisk numbers.

“A pandemic makes everything that was already here worse, so the stop-and-frisk that was already happening on March 1 is just being exacerbated now deep into COVID-19,” Pierre said.

The debate over enforcement had led to rare consensus between the police union and police accountability groups: that the NYPD should not be in the business of enforcing physical distancing.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, second from right, recently announced that the NYPD will no longer hand out tickets to those who are not wearing masks, and will instead focus on breaking up gatherings of six or more people. (Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)

Mayor de Blasio, who has often been at odds with police, has tried to balance being critical of individual incidents while defending the force as a whole. He said he was disturbed by the Wright video.

On Friday, he announced new guidelines for enforcement. The NYPD will no longer hand out tickets to those who are not wearing masks. Instead, the force will focus on gatherings of six or more people. 

“We want to make this a positive approach. We do not want to revive the mistakes of the past,” the mayor said at his daily press conference.

A new approach

The city will also send out approximately 2,300 civilian ambassadors, from various city agencies and local community groups, to provide guidance on social distancing regulations and distribute masks at parks and other public spaces.

“The NYPD will give people reminders and give people face coverings, but NYPD’s best efforts would be dealing with the things that are real danger, which is the larger gatherings,” de Blasio said.

In a memo to the force on Friday, Police Commissioner Shea wrote, “we will no longer issue summonses or make arrests for infractions related to face coverings — absent of a crime or other violation being committed.”

“This change is essential, as the men and women of the NYPD are committed to deepening the trust and partnership that they’ve worked so hard to build,” an NYPD spokesperson told CBC News. 

Pierre welcomed the new measures, saying, “people are already scared without having to be approached by somebody with a gun.” 

Calls for justice

The new measures don’t change the situation for Donna Wright, who wants to see the officer involved in her son’s arrest fired.

“He should go to jail, he should be prosecuted, he should be fired, because it just was bad,” Wright said. 

The Manhattan district attorney has said the charges against Wright have been deferred pending further investigation.

Rev. McCall said more protests are planned in the streets of Brooklyn to keep the issue front and centre during the pandemic. He noted that in many of the viral videos, the police officers themselves aren’t even wearing face coverings.

“Even in this pandemic, black, brown and Latinos got the raw end of the stick. We’re dealing with the police department not even respecting us by wearing a mask.”

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Student gunman kills 2, wounds 3 others at Southern California high school

A Southern California high school student dressed in black opened fire on campus on Thursday, killing a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy and wounding three other teens before shooting himself in the head, officials said.

The suspect, who turned 16 on Thursday, was in grave condition, officials said.

After drawing a .45-calibre handgun from his backpack, he opened fire on the other students, and he saved the last bullet for himself, Capt. Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told a news conference.

“At this point, we have no indication of any motive or ideology,” FBI Agent Paul Delacourt said.

In addition to the two dead students, two other girls, aged 14 and 15, were wounded, as was a 14-year old boy, Wegener said.

The suspect was described by police as an Asian male and a student at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, about 48 kilometres northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Students at Saugus High School evacuate campus after a gunman opened fire at the Santa Clarita, Calif., school on Thursday. (Christian Monterrosa/Associated Press)

Student Rosie Rodriguez said she was walking up the library stairs when she heard noises that “sounded like balloons” popping. She realized they were gunshots when she saw other students running.

Carrying a backpack laden with books, she ran across the street to a home, where a person she didn’t know gave shelter to her and about 10 other students.

“I just heard a lot of kids crying. We were scared,” Rodriguez said.


On a normal day, she said, Saugus High School felt safe.

“We never really thought this would happen in our school,” she said.

Television images showed sheriff’s deputies swarming the school and several people being moved on gurneys.

Lines of students were escorted from the school by armed deputies.

The incident marked yet another school shooting in the United States, where repeated mass shootings in recent years have intensified the debate about gun control and the constitutional right for citizens to keep and bear arms.

This is at least the 85th incident of gunfire on school grounds this year, according to Everytown, an advocacy group pushing for stricter gun laws.

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Leafs lick their wounds after ‘unacceptable’ loss to Lightning

Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock gathered his players at Toronto’s practice facility Friday morning.

That part shouldn’t come as a surprise — teams usually meet before hitting the ice to break down video, go over special teams or talk about an upcoming opponent.

This particular conversation, however, had a different feel following an embarrassing 7-3 home loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning roughly 12 hours earlier where a lot went wrong, and not much went right.

“It’s just like a family discussion. It’s just honest,” Babcock said when asked about the tone of the meeting. “The reality is we weren’t good enough. There’s nowhere to hide here. Like any good family, that’s what it’s like.

“You keep each other accountable.”

WATCH | Leafs suffer ‘unacceptable’ loss to Lightning:

Tampa Bay’s top line records 11 points in 7-3 victory over Toronto. 1:41

Having all of a sudden dropped three straight home games, including the last two in regulation, Toronto (2-2-1) will look to get back on track Saturday in Detroit against the Red Wings (3-1-0).

But no matter the opponent, the Leafs will need to be better across the board following an effort that left much to be desired and had some fans streaming to the exits at Scotiabank Arena with 13 minutes remaining in the third period.

“Our meeting was more important than our practice,” Babcock said following a brisk 30-minute session. “We didn’t have enough detail, didn’t have enough battle, didn’t have enough work. Any way you look at it, they outplayed us. They were quicker, they won more races, they won more battles, they looked like they had more structure.

“That’s unacceptable. We have to fix that.”

Toronto captain John Tavares, whose first goal of the season was one of Thursday’s lone positives, called the loss that saw his team give up two power-goals on three chances and surrender 11 points to Tampa’s top line of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point a “learning experience.”

“You want to continue to have a pulse on things,” Tavares said of his approach to the first mini crisis as the Leafs’ outright locker-room leader. “We want to nip a game like [Thursday] in the bud and move forward. We haven’t gotten the results we’ve wanted over the last three games.

“It’s not our standard or our expectation.”

‘Bound to be some duds,’ says Morgan Rielly 

Toronto defenceman Morgan Rielly, who was victimized on Tampa’s third goal in a wild first period that saw the visitors come out with a 4-3 lead, said there are bound to be some duds in an 82-game schedule.

“It’s about how you respond to that, how you react, and how you adjust and limit those [performances],” he said. “You have to deal with the fact mistakes are going to happen, things aren’t always going to go your way.”

The Leafs blew a 4-1 lead before losing 6-5 in a shootout to the Montreal Canadiens last Saturday, but felt good about their game in Monday’s 3-2 loss to the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues.

Those vibes didn’t continue against last season’s Presidents’ Trophy winners, who came in on a two-game slide of their own.

“Any time you play like we did, the first thing is the coach didn’t do his job,” Babcock said. “We’re up 2-1 with eight minutes left in the first period, but we didn’t stay playing, we got rattled, we didn’t keep digging in.”

Can’t get by on talent alone

Leafs blue-liner Cody Ceci said Thursday showed that talent doesn’t mean much if a team isn’t willing to work.

“We can’t skill our way through every single game,” Leafs blue-liner Cody Ceci added. “There’s other teams that are just as skilled as us. If they work harder than us, they’re going to win.

“A bit of a wake-up call … it’s good to have it this early.”

Toronto winger Kasperi Kapanen, who has struggled at times to find chemistry on a line with Tavares and Mitch Marner in place of the injured Zach Hyman, said it’s important to push forward.

“We just weren’t at our best,” he said. “A bad game that we’ve got to learn from and at the same time forget.”

The Leafs didn’t suffer a three-game drought until Feb. 21 last season, and know their attention to detail — especially in the defensive zone — needs to be a lot better after getting badly exposed against Tampa.

“There were definitely points where they outworked us, and that’s unacceptable,” Rielly said. “And then there were points where we just didn’t execute and were working hard — we wanted it, but we just couldn’t execute.

“That’s not a game you look back at fondly.”

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'We have had more than enough,' New Orleans mayor says after shooting kills 3, wounds 7

Two people wearing hoodies walked up to a crowd gathered outside a New Orleans strip mall on Saturday night and opened fire, killing three people and wounding seven more, the city's police chief said.

The shooting happened on the 3400 block of Claiborne Avenue, about about five kilometres from the French Quarter, police said.

Speaking to reporters late Saturday, Police Chief Michael Harrison said one of the shooters had a rifle and the other a handgun. He said they appeared to have fired indiscriminately into the crowd, striking 10 people.

"We believe that they actually stood over one of the individuals and fired multiple rounds and then after that fled," Harrison said.

Investigators work at the site of the shooting late Saturday. (Matthew Hinton /The Advocate via Associated Press)

Police responding to the shooting found three victims — two men and one woman — who were pronounced dead at the scene. Seven other victims — five men and two women — were taken to hospital.

Harrison said one underwent surgery and was in critical condition. The other six were in various conditions but none were considered life-threatening.

'Extremely tragic'

Harrison called on people to come forward and help police find the killers, and also asked people not to take matters into their own hands.

"This was an extremely tragic incident. A lot of people were out here tonight. A lot of people, we know, saw what happened, heard what happened. And we need more than anything for people to come forward to help the NOPD right now solve this case," Harrison said.

He said police do not know whether the shooting was gang-related.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said on Twitter that residents of the city are 'disgusted' by the shooting. (Gerald Herbert/Associated Press)

Lawrence Russo was buying a lottery ticket at a nearby gas station when he heard what he thought at first were firecrackers. He told NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune that he heard a total of 13 to 16 shots fired.

"They never stop killing each other," he said, shaking his head as he spoke.

Near the site of the shooting, beyond the police tape, people could be seen crying and hugging one another in comfort.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a statement: "There is no place in New Orleans for this kind of violence. I speak for everyone in our city when I say we are disgusted, we are infuriated, and we have had more than enough. Three more lives — gone. It has to end. It's unacceptable anywhere."

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Mali car bombing kills 2 civilians, wounds French soldiers

An attack on a military patrol in northern Mali killed two civilians and wounded up to eight French soldiers on Sunday, Mali's defence ministry said.

The attack comes two days after Islamist militants killed at least six people during a raid on a military headquarters in central Mali, a country where French troops are helping combat jihadists across its vast desert reaches.

"I confirm that it was a car bomb that drove into a joint Barkhane/Malian army patrol," defence ministry spokesperson Boubacar Diallo said. Barkhane is the name of the nearly 4,000-strong French force stationed in its former colonies across the Sahel region.

About a dozen people were wounded in Sunday's attack, including four to eight French Barkhane troops, Diallo said.

France's army spokesman, Patrik Steiger, confirmed that civilians had been killed in an attack in Gao and the army was assessing the state of the 30-strong French patrol that came under attack.

Smoke rising from armoured vehicle

He said the explosion happened near three French vehicles.

Photos posted on social media showed an armoured vehicle on a sandy road surrounded by black smoke.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred a month before presidential elections scheduled for the end of July.

But violence by Islamist militants has proliferated in the sparsely populated Sahel in recent years, with groups linked to al-Qaeda and the group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) using central and northern Mali as a launchpad for attacks across the region.

Western powers have provided significant funding to a regional force made up of soldiers from Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania combating the jihadists. But the so-called G5 force has been hobbled by delays disbursing the money and poor coordination between the five countries.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who last year complained that G5 was taking too long to set up, is due in Mauritania on Monday to discuss security in the region.

An advance team of Canadian peacekeepers arrived in Mali a week ago to lay the groundwork for a year-long mission. No Canadian forces were affected by Sunday's attack, the Canadian Armed Forces told CBC News.

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Policeman who took the place of hostage in France standoff dies of gunshot wounds

A gendarme who was shot three times after voluntarily taking the place of a hostage during a supermarket siege in southwestern France on Friday has died, French authorities announced on Saturday.

Arnaud Beltrame, who once served in Iraq, had been raced to hospital fighting for his life after the siege in which he took the place of a female hostage at the Super U store in the town of Trebes, near the Pyrenees mountains.

“He fell as a hero, giving up his life to halt the murderous outfit of a jihadist terrorist,” President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement shortly before dawn on Saturday.

Friday’s attacker was identified by authorities as Redouane Lakdim, a 25-year-old Moroccan-born French national from the city of Carcassonne, not far from Trebes, a tranquil town of about 5,000 people where he struck on Friday afternoon.

APTOPIX France Shooting

Police gather outside a supermarket in Trebes, southern France, on Friday. (Newsflare/Tarbouriech Roseline via AP)

Lakdim was known to authorities for drug-dealing and other petty crimes, but had also been under surveillance by security services in 2016-2017 for links to the radical Salafist movement, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said on Friday.

The attacker, whose rampage began when he shot at a group of police joggers and also shot the occupants of a car he stole, killed three people and injured 16 others on Friday, according to a government readout.

Beltrame was part of a team of gendarmes who were among the first to arrive at the supermarket scene. Most of the people in the supermarket escaped after hiding in a cold storage room and then fleeing through an emergency exit.

He offered to trade places with a hostage the attacker was still holding, whereafter he took her place and left his mobile phone on a table, line open. When shots rang out, elite police stormed the building to kill the assailant. Police sources said Beltrame was shot three times.

The 44-year-old’s death takes the number killed to four.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Macron has said security services are checking that claim.

String of attacks

More than 240 people have been killed in France in attacks since 2015 by assailants who either pledged allegiance to Islamic State or were inspired by the group.

France is part of a group of countries whose warplanes have been bombing Islamic State strongholds in Iraq and Syria, where the group has lost substantial ground in recent months.

France Shooting

French Police officers cordon off an area during the hostage-taking in Trebes. (Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press)

One multiple attack by Islamist gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people in Paris while another killed close to 90 when a man ran a truck into partying crowds in the Riviera seaside city of Nice.

Beltrame, who would have turned 45 in April, was a qualified parachutist who served in Iraq in 2005. He also worked as part of the elite Republican Guard that protects the presidential Elysee Place offices and residence in Paris, Macron said.

Friday’s assault was the first deadly attack since October 2017, when a man stabbed two young women to death in the port city of Marseille before soldiers killed him.

Several attacks over the past year or more have targeted police and soldiers deployed in big numbers to protect civilians and patrol sensitive spots such as airports and train stations.

Macron said of Beltrame: “In offering himself as a hostage to the terrorist holed up in the Trebes supermarket, lieutenant  colonel Beltrame saved the life of a civilian hostage, showing exceptional self-sacrifice and courage.”

The news of Beltrame’s death was first announced France’s interior minister, who said in a Twitter post: “Dead for his country. France will never forget his heroism, bravery and sacrifice.”

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Healing invisible wounds with the Art Cart

Every Thursday at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in the west end of Toronto, sterile plastic chairs are pushed aside to make way for a graffiti-covered cart stocked with paint, felt, scissors and paper.

Patients peek their heads into the otherwise grey, multi-purpose room, lured by the sound of laughter. Disposable water bottles filled with bright paints are piled around large white sheets of paper on tables as patients gather around, tools in hand. 

Art Cart CAMH

The Art Cart program employs artists who have personal experience coping with mental health or addiction issues. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

The Art Cart program is run by Gifts of Light, a group funded entirely by donations that supplies patients with free hygiene products, clothing — and now, art classes. It began as a pilot project one year ago and has expanded to offer improv comedy classes, painting and drum-making. 

Sheri Stranger

Sheri Stranger developed her artistic skills as a way to deal with her own mental health struggles. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

Sheri Stranger, an instructor for the Art Cart sessions, came to art as a way to deal with her own mental health struggles. 

“For me any kind of art is art therapy,” she says. “I like doing expressive arts … because you don’t have to have any art skills to do it.” 

Art Cart

The Art Cart began as a pilot project in 2016. Organizers hope to make it permanently available to patients. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC News)

Gifts of Light manager Quinn Kirby says staff have been blown away by the results.

“It just sparks this other aspect to the treatment,” she says. “I think a lot of people can really bond over this.”

For Delroy Flowers, 40, the classes are a part of a weekly routine that he looks forward to. He says painting helps him relax and treat his schizophrenia.

“When you do it by yourself, you’re not so relaxed. But when you do it with other people, you actually grow,” he says.

Quinn Kirby

Gifts of Light manager Quinn Kirby stands in front of the Art Cart. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

Staff say many of their patients rarely see visitors, so the art classes help break up the boredom. Many patients say they plan to take their new skills and the lessons that come with them and into recovery. 

“Just like life, sometimes you got to wipe it clean and start all over again,” says Stranger, as she does just that to paint on a canvas.

“See? I just learned something new,” replies Flowers.

Art Cart

Artworks created by patients are displayed inside the hospital and sold with proceeds going back into the Art Cart program. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

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