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Israeli security says downed drones show Hezbollah surveillance

Israeli security sources claimed Friday that drones captured after being flown across the frontier from neighboring Lebanon have provided insight into the growing aerial surveillance capabilities of the Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization.

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Lebanon and Israel are technically in a state of war and drones have become a regular feature of their heavily guarded border.

Images extracted from one drone downed in August, shown to AFP, showed what the source said was Hezbollah drone operators and pictures of other drones, as well as an aerial shot of a northern Israeli settlement and military post.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he believed the footage showed Hezbollah special forces training in how to use drones, which he said was the first such glimpse for Israel.

A second source said that five drones seized last year, including a small observation drone downed on Tuesday, belonged to Hezbollah.

“We are learning about the enemy and the enemy is learning about us,” said the second source, also speaking on condition of anonymity. “It is kind of a learning race between Hezbollah and us.”

Israel is a leader in developing and using drones in warfare, but it is seeing its technological superiority challenged by arch-foe Iran, which is also developing unmanned aerial vehicles for military use.

The drones used by Hezbollah were not necessarily Iranian made, but rather ordinary commercially available devices, the second source said.

“It is so easy to just take a drone from the store and gather intelligence and do whatever you imagine,” he said.

In September, Hezbollah said it had shot down an Israeli drone over Lebanon.

Hezbollah operates out of Lebanon, which is struggling during a dire economic crisis. The first security source said the economic woes did not appear to have lessened Hezbollah’s drone program.

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After US school shooting, students and parents demand better security, gun control


Outraged Denver students and parents demanded better school security and pushed for tighter firearm controls Thursday, a day after a 17-year-old student shot and wounded two administrators at a city high school beset with violence.

More than 1,000 students rallied at the Colorado Capitol to push gun reform legislation, while school board members endorsed the district superintendent’s abrupt reversal of a policy that had banned armed officers from Denver schools.

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The shooting at East High School near downtown occurred as administrators were searching for weapons on suspect Austin Lyle, who fled from the scene and was found dead Wednesday night in the mountains southwest of Denver. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Park County coroner said.

Educators for decades have grappled with how to keep students safe as violence has intensified, and the Denver shooting stoked an immediate backlash among parents who said security was too lax.

The uproar echoed community outrage after other school shootings — from last year’s unchecked rampage by a gunman in Uvalde, Texas, who killed 19 elementary school children and two adults, to January’s shooting of a Virginia teacher by a 6-year-old student. The tragedies underscore a chronic problem: keeping guns out of schools even as they proliferate in the community.

“We’re scared to go to school,” East High School sophomore Anna Hay said during Thursday’s rally at the Capitol. “We want to have these legislators look us in our eyes when they tell us they won’t pass gun legislation.”

As Wednesday’s shooting unfolded, Hay heard sirens from emergency vehicles and had a sinking realization that the danger was real. “Watching your friends and the fear in their eyes … it’s the worst feeling in the world,” she said.

The Colorado shooting was one of at least four at or near a school this week in the US On Monday, a 15-year-old was arrested in the fatal shooting of a student outside of a Dallas-area high school, on Tuesday a student was hurt in another Dallas-area school shooting and on Wednesday two teenagers were killed and another wounded in a shooting near a North Carolina middle school.

East High School parent Steve Katsaros said putting police into schools was just part of the solution. He also wants the campus closed to outsiders and a ban on students wearing hooded sweatshirts so they can be more easily identified following disruptions.

“This place is a ticking time bomb,” Katsaros said.

The administrators who were shot were unarmed, said Denver schools spokesperson Scott Pribble. Experts say putting civilian administrators in charge of searching a student for weapons was a mistake. Such tasks should be left to trained, armed school resource officers fitted with body armor, said Mo Canady with the National Association of School Resource Officers.

Parents converged on the 2,500-student East High School campus following the shooting to voice frustration officials were not protecting their children. East High School in recent weeks experienced a spate of lockdowns and violence, including the killing of 16-year-old Luis Garcia, who was shot while sitting in a car near school. The violence prompted students to march on the Capitol earlier this month.

Denver is one of many communities in the US that decided to phase out school resource officers in the summer of 2020 amid protests over racial injustice following the killing of George Floyd by police. The shift away from an armed presence in schools followed concern that officers disproportionately arrest students of color.

Meanwhile, shootings in the nation’s schools have increased dramatically, from fewer than 100 annually over the last several decades to 303 last year, said David Riedman, founder of the K-12 School Shooting Database.

“This year is on pace for 400 shootings,” Riedman said. “There’s pretty much an incident every single school day.”

The Denver shooting happened just before 10 a.m. in an office area as Lyle was undergoing a search as part of a “safety plan” that required him to be patted down daily, officials said.

One of the wounded administrators remained hospitalized in serious condition Thursday and the second was treated and released, said Denver Health spokesperson Heather Burke.

In response to the shooting, two armed officers will be posted at East High School through the end of the school year. Other city high schools will each get an officer, Denver Public Schools Superintendent Alex Marrero said.

A state lawmaker voiced concern about the swift change in policy, citing research that shows having police in schools is associated with more suspensions and expulsions for students of color.

“In order to provide some sense of safety they are going to an extreme that is safe for a certain population and extremely unsafe for another,” said Democrat Rep. Lorena Garcia.

Another East High School parent, Dr. Lynsee Hudson Lang, said she was open to having police in schools, but suggested it was an insufficient response to a multi-faceted problem. Lang wanted other strategies considered, like setting up a secure perimeter around the school and evaluating if students are “emotionally safe enough” to attend classes.

In Nevada, activists have renewed calls for less police in schools after an officer in Clark County last month was caught on video slamming a Black student to the ground. The debate over resource officers comes almost a year after leaders in the district declared a hard line on fights in schools.

Lyle had transferred to East High School after being disciplined and removed from a high school in nearby Aurora because of unspecified violations of school policies, according to officials.

The teenager was facing a firearm charge at the time of the shooting and officials at East High School were aware of the charge, Marrero confirmed Thursday during a news conference. But Marrero said the district does not turn away students with struggles.

“We are obligated to provide a free and adequate education for all students,” he said. “We failed Austin.”

The administrator who usually searched Lyle was absent on the day of the shooting and Marrero speculated that may have played a role.

Daily searches of students are rare, said Franci Crepeau-Hobson, a University of Colorado Denver professor specializing in school violence prevention. She said there should be community input into whether officers should be installed in schools and access to firearms needs to be addressed.

“Firearms are now the leading killer of youth in this country between homicides, suicides and accidents,” said Crepeau-Hobson. “This is what’s killings our kids.”

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India’s Congress party to launch street protests against Gandhi’s conviction 


Members of India’s main opposition Congress party will take to the streets on Friday to protest against leader Rahul Gandhi’s conviction for defamation, party officials said a day after a magistrate’s court sentenced Gandhi to a two-year jail term.

Gandhi, 52, was found guilty for a 2019 speech in which he referred to thieves as having the surname Modi. He made the comment while campaigning ahead of the last general election to debunk economic policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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He was convicted by a court in the western state of Gujarat, which also gave him bail and suspended the sentence for one month.

That gives Gandhi time to appeal but he faces immediate disqualification from parliament following the conviction.

Two senior Congress leaders told Reuters that Gandhi will respect the local court’s verdict and will not attend parliament. “It is a fact that his membership stands disqualified for now, but we will challenge the conviction in the court to ensure he can attend parliament proceedings,” said a federal lawmaker who is also a Congress leader.

The current parliament session began on Jan.31 and is scheduled to conclude on April 6.

Officials in the Congress party said they are also depending on regional opposition parties to galvanize political support against the verdict.

“It is a critical political test for Gandhi, and we are depending on regional parties to support the Congress and stand against Modi’s party,” said a second senior Congress leader on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the press. The president’s office confirmed that Congress leaders have sought a meeting with President Draupadi Murmu to lodge a protest against the conviction with the top constitutional executive.

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Watch: Fox News reporter reunites with son on live TV after Denver school shooting


A video showing a Fox News reporter reuniting with her son on live television outside a Denver high school where a shooting had taken place has gone viral on social media.

Alicia Acuna was reporting live on the scene outside East High School when she saw her son walk out with a group of other students.

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Denver-based Fox News reporter @aacuna1 sees and embraces her son as he leaves East High school after today’s shooting. pic.twitter.com/jPt60YhhO6

— Kyle Clark (@KyleClark) March 22, 2023

The young man ran up to his mom who stepped off camera for a brief moment to hug him and check if he was alright.

“I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. There’s no way you would have let your kid walk by. He’s okay. He’s good. He was the one telling me what was happening,” she told her colleagues in the studio during the broadcast.

The shooting took place as school administrators were searching for weapons on student Austin Lyle, according to news reports.

The two people – one in serious but stable condition and the other in critical condition – were taken to a nearby hospital where they are being treated.

Lyle, who had a history of violating school policies, shot the two administrators before fleeing the scene, reports said. He was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound Wednesday night in the mountains southwest of Denver.

According to the Naval Postgraduate School database, shootings in US schools have more than tripled in the five years leading to 2021.

An average of 130 school shootings have occurred every year across the US in the past five years, the database revealed.

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