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133 killed in Russia terror attack

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Death toll in Russia terror attack rises to 133

The death toll in the terror attack at Moscow’s Crocus City Hall has risen to 133, with 152 people injured. 11 people have been detained in connection with the attack, and the US had warned Russia, which was rejected by President Putin. State-owned TASS reported that the assailants had contacts on the Ukrainian side.

According to the Russian Emergencies Ministry, the death toll in the terror attack in Moscow’s Crocus City Hall has risen to 133, with 152 people injured in the incident. Moscow region governor Andrey Vorobyov said the kin of the deceased would receive $32,500. Russian Security Service (FSB) director Alexander Bortnikov told Russian President Vladimir Putin that 11 people have been detained in connection with the attack on the Crocus complex near Moscow on Friday.

The US had warned Russia about the possible terror attack, which was rejected by President Putin. “All four terrorists directly involved in the attack are among those detained,” as reported by TASS. Following a preliminary inspection, the committee stated that the terrorists used automatic weapons and ammunition left in the concert hall. Ballistic, genetic, and fingerprint examinations are being carried out to gather further evidence.

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The assailants targeted fleeing concertgoers at Crocus City Hall, with videos showing bodies strewn like litter. The attackers also used hand grenades and incendiaries to set the building on fire. World leaders have condemned the terrorist attack, with UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Pakistan expressing solidarity and offering condolences to the families of the victims. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has called for the global community to condemn the attack and stand united against terrorism.

IANS, established in 1986, is India's largest independent news service, offering 24x7 news from India and South Asia, and a preferred source for diverse content across six business verticals.

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Report: FBI questions German right-wing politician about Russian funds

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FBI questions German right-wing politician over Russian money: Report

The leading candidate for the far-right AfD party in the European Parliament elections, Maximilian Krah, has been questioned by the FBI regarding possible payments from pro-Russian patrons. The questioning took place in the US in December 2023, raising concerns about covert payments.

Krah confirmed being questioned by US investigators about his contacts in Ukraine, denying any wrongdoing. The suspicion arose from a chat message indicating a problem with the “compensation” for Krah’s “technical expenses.” The wording suggested possible covert payments.

Krah dismissed the accusations as absurd and denied receiving any money from the pro-Russian activist. He claimed his contacts with the activist were transparent and could be found on his Instagram account. Krah suggested the chat message may have been meant for someone else.

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The FBI investigation also involves Krah’s association with the pro-Russian platform Voice of Europe. The Czech Republic recently placed VoE on its national sanctions list, alleging it to be part of a Russian influence operation targeting Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Krah denies accepting money from VoE.

The European Parliament elections are approaching, scheduled for June 6-9. The controversy surrounding Krah’s alleged ties to pro-Russian patrons and possible covert payments could impact his candidacy and the AfD’s standing in the elections. The FBI’s investigation and Krah’s responses raise questions about his campaign’s integrity and transparency.

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First seven jurors chosen for Trump’s New York criminal trial

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First seven jurors selected in Trump's New York criminal trial

In a hush money trial, seven jurors were selected for the first criminal trial against former US President Donald Trump in New York. The trial involves charges of falsifying business records related to a pay-off made to porn star Stormy Daniels to conceal an affair.

Representatives of the prosecution and defence, along with Judge Juan Merchan, interviewed candidates for the jury before agreeing on seven jurors on Tuesday. The search for five more jurors could continue for several more days.

Trump, a real estate business leader, faces 34 counts of falsifying business records as part of a scheme with his former lawyer Michael Cohen. The pay-off of $130,000 to Stormy Daniels was meant to keep her quiet about an affair she had with Trump in 2006.

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Despite admitting to the pay-off, Trump denies any sexual encounter with Daniels. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison. The trial, once the jury is selected, is expected to last up to eight weeks.

Trump’s lawyers attempted to avert, postpone, or delay the trial until the last minute. Even with a conviction, he could still run in the presidential election. He is also facing three other criminal trials and several civil lawsuits.

The Republican is set for an election rematch with incumbent President Joe Biden in November. The trial is scheduled to continue on Thursday, with high stakes for both Trump and the US political landscape.

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Israel conducts airstrikes on Rafah in Gaza Strip, resulting in 7 fatalities

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Israel attacks Rafah in Gaza Strip, 7 killed

Tel Aviv, April 17 (IANS) – The Israel Air Force conducted an attack on a building in Rafah, southern Gaza, resulting in the death of seven individuals. The attack took place early Wednesday morning despite warnings from the US and other allies about the high civilian population in the area of approximately 1.3 million people.

The Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi, during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Egypt, emphasized the importance of preventing an Israeli attack on Rafah. The concern is centered around a potential influx of refugees to the Sinai region of Egypt, which shares a border with Rafah, in the event of an attack.

Since the ground invasion of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) into Gaza on October 27, 2023, following the Hamas attack on October 7 last year, the death toll among Palestinians has exceeded 33,000. Despite Israel’s proposition to evacuate civilians, including women and children, during military operations in Rafah, the US remains unconvinced due to the potential for heavy casualties.

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Israeli intelligence agencies, including Mossad and Shin Bet, have alerted the Israeli war cabinet to the presence of numerous hostages in the Rafah area. It is suspected that Hamas militants are utilizing these hostages as human shields, further complicating the situation in the region.

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