Teenager Kills Classmate, Injures Three Others In Russian College

BREAKING: 'Multiple Casualties' As Gunman Opens Fire At US Synagogue

A 19-year-old student in Russia’s Far East opened fire in his college Thursday morning, killing one classmate and injuring three other people before shooting himself, investigators said.

The male student in a construction college in the town of Blagoveshchensk “murdered his classmate and wounded three using a rifle registered to him,” the Investigative Committee of far-eastern Amur region said.

“During (police) attempts to apprehend him, he shot himself dead,” investigators said.

The victim was also 19 while the injured students ranged from 17 to 20 years old.

The small college in the town centre was surrounded with police cars and some of the streets were closed off Thursday, local website Amur.Info said, adding that the shooter likely used a shotgun in the middle of a lecture attended by 20 people.

Russia has relatively few school shootings due to normally tight security in education facilities and the difficulty of buying firearms legally but it is possible to register hunting rifles.

Last October a teenage gunman killed 20 people and injured more than 40 at his college in Moscow-annexed Crimea, apparently inspired by the 1999 Columbine high school shooting in the United States.

AFP

Israel Soldier Gets One-Month Jail Over Killing Of Gaza Teen

Israeli soldiers take cover as Palestinian protesters hurl stones during clashes following a weekly protest against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the village of Kfar Qaddum near the Jewish settlement of Qadumim (Kedumim), in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on August 9, 2019. Jaafar ASHTIYEH / AFP

 

An Israeli military court has sentenced a soldier to one month in jail over the killing of a Palestinian teenager after he opened fire without authorisation, the army said Wednesday.

The unnamed soldier was convicted Monday for “acting without authorisation in a manner endangering to life and well-being”, it said in a statement.

Othman Rami Halles, 15, was shot dead during protests on the Israel-Gaza border on July 13, 2018, the Palestinian health ministry said at the time.

The army said a probe had found that “the soldier fired at a Palestinian rioter who was climbing on the security fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip”.

The soldier, identified in Israeli media as a sniper, had opened fire “not in accordance with the rules of engagement and not in accordance with the instructions he had received”, it said.

After a plea bargain, the court sentenced the soldier to 30 days in prison with military labour and a suspended term of another 60 days, and he was demoted.

The investigation had found no evidence of a “causal link between the soldier’s fire” and the teenager’s death, the army said.

At least 311 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since protests were launched along the border of the Israeli-blockaded enclave in March 2018, the majority during the demonstrations and clashes.

Eight Israelis have been killed in Gaza-related violence over the same period.

AFP

Court Sentences 16 To Death For Burning Teenager

 

Sixteen people were sentenced to death Thursday for burning alive a Bangladeshi teenager  who refused to withdraw sexual assault charges against her head teacher.

The case highlights what activists say is a culture of impunity over sexual violence in the South Asian country of 168 million people, as well as abuse rife in around 20,000 seminaries that educate mostly poor and rural students.

Nusrat Jahan Rafi was doused in kerosene and set on fire on April 6 after she made a sexual harassment complaint against the principal of her rural Islamic seminary.

The head teacher, who a court in the southern coastal town of Feni found had ordered the brutal killing from jail after being arrested over the harassment claim, was among those sentenced to death.

Others included activists from the ruling Awami League party and some students — including two females — who either participated in the killing or guarded the gates of the seminary while it took place.

“The verdict proves that nobody will get away with murder in Bangladesh. We have the rule of law,” prosecutor Hafez Ahmed told reporters after the verdict in a crowded courtroom.

Rafi was lured to the rooftop of the seminary in Sonagazi where her attackers pressed her to withdraw the complaint she had filed with police.

When she refused, she was tied up, doused in kerosene and set on fire.

She suffered burns to 80 percent of her body and died in hospital four days later.

Her death triggered widespread horror across the nation, with protesters in the capital Dhaka staging days of demonstrations seeking “exemplary punishment” for the killers.

The murder put pressure on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to do more to protect women, with her government ordering some 27,000 schools to set up committees to prevent sexual violence.

 ‘Not a big deal’ 

Rafi had gone to police in late March to report the sexual harassment, and a leaked video shows the local station chief registering her complaint but dismissing it as “not a big deal”.

Police said the attackers’ plan had been to pass off her death as suicide, but this failed after Rafi managed to stagger down the stairs while still engulfed in flames.

Activists say many of the women and children who report sexual violence in Bangladesh often suffer a backlash, and that successful prosecutions are rare.

Rafi’s case was fast-tracked, with the hearing taking only 62 days at a special tribunal hearing cases of violence against women and children.

Maleka Banu, head of a woman’s rights group, told AFP: “It is an exemplary punishment. We hope it will send a serious message to the perpetrators and collaborators of sexual violence.”

She said she hoped the verdict would work as a deterrent and would bring down “alarming rise” in sexual violence in the country.

Since the arrest of the principal, at least five more madrasa teachers have been held on charges of rape and sexual assault of their students.

The head of the Mahila Parishad, another women’s rights group, gave a “guarded welcome” at the quick conclusion of the case, but said more needed to be done to ensure increased convictions for sexual harassment and rape cases.

According to that group, there were 731 incidents of sexual violence reported in the first six months of the year, including 592 rapes, 113 gang rapes and 26 women who were killed after being sexually assaulted.

Researcher Rezaur Rahman Lenin said on average more than 200 people are sentenced to death each year in Bangladesh, and as of May around 1,500 people were on death row

The number of executions carried out is less than 10 a year.

Defence lawyers said they would appeal against Thursday’s verdict in the high court.

AFP

Teenager Killed In French Car Rally Accident

 

A teenager died Saturday and five people were injured when the driver of a car taking part in an auto rally in France ran into spectators.

The accident occured during the Rallye des Cardabelles in the southern French region of Millau as the driver was coming out of a hairpin bend, a local official said.

A 19-year-old man died on the spot while another teenager was flown by helicopter to Toulouse in a serious condition, Patrick Bernie told AFP.

The others injured included the driver and three other spectators.

The spectators were standing at a spot that was forbidden to the public, an AFP correspondent said.

Police Arrest Teenager For Killing Best Friend After Man Promised $9m Payment

BREAKING: 'Multiple Casualties' As Gunman Opens Fire At US Synagogue

An American teenager has been charged with conspiring to murder her “best friend” after a man she met online offered her $9 million to commit the crime.

According to investigators, Denali Brehmer, an 18-year-old from Alaska, was recruited to kill her friend by a man a few years her elder, 21-year-old Darin Schilmiller of Indiana.

The pair had previously hooked up online, with Schilmiller assuming a fake identity and posing as a millionaire named “Tyler.”

READ ALSO: Insurgents Again Attack Borno, Loot Military Base

Court documents say that during the course of their online relationship, they discussed a plan to rape and murder someone in Alaska.

Schilmiller allegedly promised Brehmer $9 million or more to send him videos or photographs of the attack.

Brehmer then proceeded to recruit four other teens and the group settled on Cynthia Hoffman — who considered Brehmer to be her best friend — as their victim.

On June 2, authorities say, 19-year-old Hoffman was lured to a hiking trail northeast of Anchorage where she was bound with duct tape and shot once in the back of the head before being pushed into a river.

Her body was discovered on June 4.

Local news reports said Hoffman’s father has described his daughter as having a learning disability and the mindset of a 12-year-old.

Police say the victim was driven to Thunderbird Falls by Brehmer and Kayden McIntosh, a 16-year-old boy, under the guise of going on a riverside hike.

McIntosh allegedly shot Hoffman with Brehmer’s gun and dumped her body in the water.

Authorities say Brehmer communicated with Schilmiller throughout the murder, sending him “Snapchat photographs and videos of Hoffman tied up and of the body afterward.”

‘Internet a dark place’

Both Brehmer and McIntosh have been arrested and charged in relation to the murder. Schilmiller has also been arrested along with three others accused of assisting in the planning or execution of the killing.

A grand jury last Friday indicted all six defendants for first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree, two counts of second-degree murder and other charges.

Schilmiller and Brehmer were also indicted Tuesday on federal child pornography and child exploitation charges.

Police said that a search on Brehmer’s phone during their investigation into Hoffman’s death revealed videos of the teen sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl at Schilmiller’s behest.

Court documents say Schilmiller admitted to attempting to blackmail Brehmer after the murder into sexually assaulting young girls.

Both face up to life in prison on the child pornography charges.

They also face up to 99 years in prison on each of the other murder-related charges.

Schilmiller had previously tried to befriend other people online through a practice known as catfishing, authorities said, asking his victims to send him photos of their children.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Bryan Schroder, the US Attorney in Alaska, warned that the case should serve as a warning to parents.

“For all the good the internet can do, it can be a very dark place,” he told reporters. “Parents would be wise to monitor the activity of their children online.

AFP

IS Bride Shamima Begum ‘Shocked’ After UK Revokes Her Citizenship

(FILES) In this file handout photo taken on February 17, 2015 a video grab taken from CCTV, received from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on February 23, 2015, shows Shamima Begum passing through security barriers at Gatwick Airport, south of London. AFP

 

A British teenager who joined the Islamic State group in Syria in 2015 said Wednesday she was shocked by a government decision to revoke her citizenship.

Shamima Begum, who now wants to return home after giving birth in a refugee camp in Syria last weekend, said the order was “unjust”.

“I am a bit shocked,” she told ITV News after learning of the move which was announced in a letter Tuesday from Britain’s interior ministry to her mother in London.

“It’s a bit upsetting and frustrating. I feel like it’s a bit unjust on me and my son.”

Begum’s fate has stirred controversy since she and two friends fled her east London home to join the terror network four years ago when she was aged just 15.

The case highlights a dilemma facing many European countries, divided over whether to allow jihadists and IS sympathisers home to face prosecution or barring them over security concerns as the so-called “caliphate” crumbles.

A spokeswoman for the interior ministry said on Tuesday it would not comment on individual cases, “but any decisions to deprive individuals of their citizenship are based on all available evidence and not taken lightly”.

She added that interior minister Sajid Javid was intent on prioritising “the safety and security of Britain and the people who live here”.

READ ALSO: Liverpool And Bayern Have Plenty To Play For After Stalemate

“In order to protect this country, he has the power to deprive someone of their British citizenship where it would not render them stateless.”

Begum gave birth to her third child at the weekend, and appealed to British authorities to show “compassion” by allowing her to raise the baby in Britain — while expressing no regret over having joined IS.

 ‘All legal avenues’ 

In the ministry’s letter sent to Begum’s mother, it said the teen had the right to appeal the order.

A lawyer for her family said it was disappointed with the move.

“(The) family are very disappointed with the… intention to have an order made depriving Shamima of her citizenship,” Tasnime Akunjee said on Twitter.

“We are considering all legal avenues to challenge this decision.”

Begum, who is of Bangladeshi heritage, was born in Britain, has never had a Bangladeshi passport and is not a dual citizen, according to Akunjee.

The interior ministry reportedly believes that she is entitled to claim citizenship in the south Asian country.

Chiranjiv Sarker, head of the consular wing and dual nationality issues at Bangladesh’s foreign ministry, told AFP it was aware of the case but had not received any contact from the family.

“So far none of her family members (has) approached us,” he said. “What I learn from newspapers is that Shamima was trying to return to Britain.”

He added that, if approached, the ministry would need to try to verify Begum’s Bangladeshi heritage to assess any possible eligibility for citizenship.

 Trump call rebuffed 

Begum is currently in a refugee camp in northeast Syria where she fled to escape fighting in the east of the country along with hundreds of other people with links to IS.

She said she has previously given birth to two other children after marrying in Syria. Both children have died, apparently from illness and malnutrition.

Begum fled Britain with Kadiza Sultana, who has since been reported killed, and Amira Abase.

Begum said in recent media interviews that Abase had stayed in a village where IS fighters are making a final stand against US-backed forces.

European countries have been grappling with what to do with foreign fighters detained in Syria by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who have warned they may not be able to guard their jails once US troops leave.

The British government on Monday rebuffed US President Donald Trump’s call to take back alleged UK jihadists captured in the war-ravaged country.

Trump had called on Britain, France, Germany and other European allies “to take back over 800 IS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial”.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said the fighters should instead face justice in places where they committed their crimes.

AFP

British Teen Who Joined IS Gives Birth In Refugee Camp

(FILES) In this file handout photo taken on February 17, 2015 a video grab taken from CCTV, received from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on February 23, 2015, shows Shamima Begum passing through security barriers at Gatwick Airport, south of London. Source:  AFP

 

A teenager who joined the Islamic State group in Syria but now wants to return to Britain on Sunday gave birth in a refugee camp, as European governments grapple with what to do with returning jihadists ahead of a US troop pullout.

Shamima Begum, whose fate has stirred controversy ever since she and two friends fled London to join the terror network in 2015 aged just 15, told Sky News she had delivered a boy.

“I just gave birth so I’m really tired,” the 19-year-old said as she made a renewed appeal to be allowed back to Britain with her newborn baby.

“I’m afraid he might even die in this camp. I feel a lot of people should have sympathy for me, for everything I’ve been through,” she said.

“I didn’t know what I was getting into when I left. I just was hoping that maybe for the sake of me and my child they let me come back,” she added.

READ ALSO: Real Madrid Suffer Shock Defeat To Girona

Her case comes as European nations struggle with how to deal with jihadists eager to return home following the disintegration of Islamic State’s “caliphate” in eastern Syria.

US President Donald Trump again demanded on Saturday that they take back hundreds of captured IS fighters.

Trump said on Twitter that the United States was asking Britain and other continental allies “to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial”.

The demand came as he prepared — ahead of the pullout of US troops — to declare the group’s so-called “caliphate” destroyed, with US-led Arab and Kurdish forces close to capturing its last Syrian territorial holdout.

“The US does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe,” Trump added.

“Time for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing. We are pulling back after 100% Caliphate victory!”

‘I don’t regret it’ 

Begum, previously gave birth to two other children after marrying in Syria. Both children died.

Leading politicians, including interior minister Sajid Javid, have vowed to prevent her return, pointing to her lack of remorse for joining the terror group.

Begum told Sky News she was aware of IS’s brutal tactics, including conducting beheadings but did not regret going to Syria.

“I knew about those things and I was OK with it at first,” she said. “They take care of you… you’re living under Islamic law.

“I don’t regret it because it’s changed me as a person, made me stronger, tougher.”

The teenager, who said she had had no contact with British officials, added the government should not block her homecoming because she was “just a housewife” while there.

“I never made propaganda, I never encouraged people to come to Syria.

“They don’t really have proof that I did anything that is dangerous,” she said.

 ‘Dangerous individuals’ 

Europe has long been grappling with how to respond to foreign fighters, and their supporters or dependants, caught in Syria.

However, the looming US departure has created a deadline for those governments whose citizens joined IS and have now been captured by the US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Britain’s government appears split on the issue.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright, a former attorney general — the country’s chief legal adviser — told the BBC on Sunday that it was “obliged, at some stage at least, to take them back”.

He noted it was “a matter of international law and domestic law”.

However, writing in The Sunday Times — under the headline “if you run away to join ISIS, I will use all my power to stop you coming back” — Javid insisted the government should strip “dangerous individuals of their British citizenship”.

He said Britain had already exercised this power more than 100 times.

“In considering what actions need to be taken now, I have to think about the safety and security of children living in our country,” Javid wrote.

Other European countries that have chosen to leave the jihadists in SDF detention are now being forced to confront the situation.

“All German citizens — including those who are suspected of fighting for the so-called Islamic state — have a fundamental right to travel back into Germany,” a German foreign ministry source said Sunday.

Belgian justice minister Koen Geens told Flemish broadcaster VRT there was the need for a “European solution” to the issue, but appeared irked by Trump’s blunt call.

“It would have been nice for friendly nations to have these kinds of questions raised through the usual diplomatic channels rather than a tweet in the middle of the night,” he said in Dutch.

AFP

Saudi Asylum Seeker In Thailand Pulls Twitter Account Over ‘Threats’

This screen grab from a video released to AFPTV via the Twitter account of Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun on January 7, 2019 shows a still of Qunun speaking in Bangkok on January 7. 
Handout / Courtesy of Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun / AFP

 

The 18-year-old Saudi asylum seeker who fled her family to Thailand and harnessed the power of Twitter to stave off deportation on Friday abruptly suspended her account, with friends saying she had received death threats.

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun’s attempt to flee the ultra-conservative kingdom has been embraced by rights groups as a beacon of defiance against repression.

Thai authorities initially threatened to deport her after she arrived in Bangkok from Kuwait last weekend.

But armed with a smartphone and a hastily opened Twitter account, she forced a U-turn from Thai immigration police who handed her into the care of the UN’s refugee agency as the #SaveRahaf hashtag case bounced across the world.

Qunun alleges abuse by her family — who deny the allegations — and rights groups also said she had renounced Islam, risking prosecution in conservative Saudi Arabia.

On Friday afternoon she posted a final cryptic tweet on her profile saying “I have some good news and some bad news” — shortly after her account was deactivated.

“Rahaf received death threats and for this reason, she closed her Twitter account, please save Rahaf life,” tweeted supporter @nourahfa313, who has flanked Rahaf’s social media campaign with her own updates on Twitter.

“I understand that there have been death threats against her but I don’t know the details,” said Phil Robertson from Human Rights Watch, adding even threats from online trolls need to be taken seriously.

Rahaf’s swift use of Twitter saw her amass more than 100,000 followers within a week, highlighting her plight and allowing her to avoid the fate of countless other refugees who are quietly sent back home or languish in Bangkok detention centres.

Though her asylum case has moved at lightning speed the mystery over which country will accept Rahaf remains.

Australia has dropped the strongest hints so far after the UN urged the country to accept her but its foreign minister said this week that it was still assessing the request.

Thailand’s immigration chief Surachate Hakparn told reporters Friday that as far as he knows there are “two or three” countries who could offer asylum.

The Southeast Asian country is not a signatory to a convention on refugees and asylum seekers must be referred to a third country.

Until that happens she is under the care of UNHCR in Bangkok.

She has refused to see her father who travelled to Thailand and expressed opposition to her resettlement.

AFP

France Charges Teenager For Threatening Teacher With Fake Gun

 

A French teenager who was filmed threatening his teacher with a fake gun in a tough Paris suburb was charged Sunday with aggravated violence, prosecutors said.

The incident, which was filmed and uploaded onto social media by one of the 15-year-old’s classmates, took place Thursday at a high school in the southeastern suburb of Creteil.

It drew widespread condemnation, including from President Emmanuel Macron and members of his cabinet as well as the right-wing opposition condemned the incident.

The daily Le Parisien reported that the student admitted to pointing the imitation gun at the teacher, but said it was meant “as a joke” and that he was not aware he was being filmed.

He presented himself to police on Friday accompanied by his father.

The video shows the boy standing over the seated teacher, brandishing what turned out to be an air gun.

“You’ve marked me absent. Mark me as a present,” he shouts as another student tries to plead his case with the teacher, who appears more weary than panicked and continues working on her laptop while exchanging a few inaudible remarks with the class.

She filed a police complaint on Friday.

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said in a joint statement Sunday they would convene a top-level meeting next week to discuss ways to end violence in schools in low-income city suburbs.

“School is the cradle of the Republic and it is where we learn to respect the Republic,” Castaner said during a visit to a police station in eastern Paris, vowing to “recapture the Republic square metre by square metre” from lawless elements.

Le Parisien said the teenager was angry that the teacher marked him down as absent when he had been merely late for class.

Another teenager suspected of bringing the fake weapon to school was also questioned by police but released without charge.

Macron on Saturday warned in a tweet that threatening a teacher was “unacceptable” and said he had ordered his ministers to take “all necessary measures” to prevent a repeat of the incident.

France has so far been spared the kind of gun violence that has plagued schools in the United States and parts of northern Europe.

AFP

Court Remands Teenager, One Other For Stealing Beer, Bush Meat

Ogun Govt Seeks Legislative Support On Revised Laws

 

A Magistrate Court sitting in Ile-Ife, Osun State on Friday, remanded 18-year-old Mayowa Segun and 29-year-old Adebowale Wasiu, for allegedly breaking into a shop and stealing various items including beer, soft drinks, bush meat and recharge cards worth N41,950.

The Prosecutor, Sunday Osanyintuyi, told the court that the accused committed the offence on July 4, 2018, around 01:55 a.m. at Isale Agbara Area, Ile-Ife.

Osanyintuyi said that the accused conspired among themselves with intent to commit a felony to wit breaking, entering and stealing.

He added that the accused broke into the shop of one Yusuff Adebimpe and catered away five bottles of Goldberg, four bottles of Trophy beer and soft drinks. Other items stolen include bush meat and recharge cards valued at N41, 950.

The prosecutor stated that the offence contravened sections 383, 390 (9), 412 and 516 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Osun, 2002.

READ ALSO: EFCC Set To Probe Pinnick, Dikko, Others

The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the four-count charge of conspiracy, intent to commit a felony, shop breaking and stealing.

The Defence Counsel, Ben Adirieje, applied for the bail of the accused in the most liberal term, pledged that his clients would not jump bail, but would produce reliable sureties.

Magistrate Olalekan Ijiyode, however, refused the bail of the accused but asked their counsel to come with written application for the consideration of their bail.

The Magistrate noted that the rate of crime in the society is alarming especially among youths. He, therefore, ordered for the remand of the accused persons in prisons custody, pending the consideration of their bail.

The case was adjourned until July 27, for the ruling application.

Gaza Teen Dies Of Border Protest Wounds

FILE PHOTO Palestinian demonstrators burn tyres near the Gaza-Israel border, east of Gaza City, as Palestinians readied for protests over the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem on May 14, 2018. PHOTO: MAHMUD HAMS / AFP

 

A 13-year-old Palestinian shot recently by Israeli forces in protests on the Gaza border died of his wounds Monday, the health ministry in the Hamas-ruled territory said. 

Zakaria Bishbash was hit in the stomach by Israeli army fire several days ago, ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said, without giving further details.

At least 132 Palestinians have been killed since mass protests and clashes broke out along the Gaza border on March 30.

No Israelis have been killed.

The protests peaked on May 14 when at least 61 Palestinians were killed as thousands approached the heavily guarded border fence on the same day the United States moved its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Israel says its actions are necessary to defend its borders and stop infiltrations. It accuses Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas of seeking to use the protests as cover for attacks.

AFP

Pakistan Buries Teen Killed In Texas School Shooting

Relatives and residents carry the coffin of slain Pakistani exchange student Sabika Sheikh, who was killed during a school shooting in Texas, following her body’s arrival from the United States, in Karachi on May 23, 2018.  IMRAN ALI / AFP

 

Hundreds mourned a Pakistani exchange student killed in a mass shooting at a Texas high school last week during her burial in Karachi Wednesday.

Sabika Sheikh was among the 10 people gunned down at a high school in Santa Fe last Friday when a heavily armed student opened fire on classmates.

Relatives sobbed and hugged as Sheikh’s remains arrived at her family home in a casket draped with a Pakistani flag.

The body was then taken to a public meeting ground where hundreds gathered to say prayers and pay their respects before the burial at a nearby cemetery.

“My daughter is a martyr and martyrs don’t die,” Sheikh’s father Abdul Aziz said after the prayers.

Officials participating in the ceremony labelled her killing an act of terrorism.

“The whole nation stands by the Pakistani girl who was martyred in a terrorist attack in the US. May God give patience to her parents and family,” provincial governor Mohammad Zubair told reporters after the funeral.

Hours earlier, a Pakistani honour guard escorted Sheikh’s casket off a plane at Karachi’s Jinnah International airport during a ceremony overseen by government officials and US consul John E. Warner.

Following the funeral, Pakistani Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai — who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 for advocating girls’ rights to education — also weighed in, calling for an end to school violence.

“I hope leaders in the US, Pakistan and around the world will do justice to the lives of Sabika, her classmates and their teachers by doing more to stop violence in schools,” said Yousafzai in a statement.

Sheikh had been in the US on a State Department-sponsored exchange programme but was due to return home in mere weeks ahead of Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

Despite strained relations between Washington and Islamabad, the US has long been a favoured destination for Pakistani students studying abroad, with thousands enrolling in American schools every year.

Sheikh’s death came just three months after another school massacre in Parkland, Florida killed 17 people, sparking an unprecedented grassroots, student-led gun control movement.

The shooting in Santa Fe was the 22nd such incident at a US school this year, according to media reports, a disturbing statistic in a country where firearms are part of everyday life and there are more than 30,000 gun-related deaths annually.

AFP