The Spanish government is to ramp up security at busy tourist sites across the country following this week s attacks that left at least 13 people dead and more than 130 injured, it has said. The country s interior minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido, told a press conference on Saturday morning that areas judged to be potential terror targets especially where large numbers of people gather would be given special protection .
We are going to redirect our efforts and will adapt these to every place or area that needs special protection, Mr Zoido told reporters. People of 35 different nationalities are thought to have been injured in the van attack on La Rambla, one of Barcelona s most famous tourist hotspots and authorities worry that terrorists could have eyes on the country s crucial tourism industry.
On Friday and Saturday, there was an increased police presence in Barcelona, with visible patrols across the centre of the city . A specialist police firearms team was visible near La Rambla, with marked vans parked at strategic locations. The overall security response has so far been somewhat hands-off, however, with traffic again allowed to flow freely on the non-pedestrianised section of the boulevard, which has twin traffic lanes either side of a large tiled walkway featuring cafes, artists, and market stalls. The Spanish government has also clarified that it will not be raising its terror alert level to five, the highest level, and will be leaving it at four . Level five indicates that an attack is thought to be imminent and would mean the the presence of soldiers on the streets and at places such as train stations or shopping centres.
The Spanish interior minister gave a press conference on Saturday morning
The minister said that the threat level would stay at four in part because authorities believe the alleged terror cell behind the attacks on Barcelona s La Rambla and in the resort town of Cambrils on Thursday and Friday has been dismantled. This is despite Catalonian police conducting an ongoing manhunt for 22-year old Moroccan national Younes Abouyaaqoub, the suspected driver of the van in Thursday s La Rambla massacre and the new centre of the police investigation. The decision not to raise the threat level was taken after a meeting of the the Bureau of Extraordinary Terrorist Threats, Mr Zoido said, which was attended by security officials.
The Spanish authorities may be considering the impact of a higher threat level to the country s tourist industry the second biggest in the world during high season .
Hoteliers in Barcelona approached by The Independent on Friday reported cancellations following the attack on La Rambla.
Sajaad Mohamed Abu Abdallah, who would have turned four in October, passed away on Wednesday at nearby Dammam Maternity and Children s Hospital, where he had been cared for since a bullet hit him in the torso and right hand in the 12 June incident. Sajaad s uncle who asked not to be named said that he, his sister, her five-year-old daughter and her son Sajaad tried to drive past Awamiyah police station, one of the main headquarters for the Saudi security services in the stand-off with armed Shia protesters, when the shooting occurred. X-rays provided by the family showed that several fragments remained in the child s torso at the time of his death
There was an armoured vehicle with a mounted gun turret outside the station, he said, and a road barrier which meant he had to take an exit to the right.
So I slowed down and I heard shooting . When I heard this, I sped up . I was twisting and turning and then I heard shooting at the car .
My sister and her five-year-old daughter were crying and Sajaad was silent . I looked back and saw he was injured my sister cried and took him to the front seat, the man said . They then drove to the nearest medical centre. The street had been completely empty at the time, he added, and there had been no warning before the shooting began. Photographs taken by Sajaad s uncle showed that one bullet entered the car through the left rear door, where the boy was sitting .
It hit the toddler in the right hand, then travelled through his waist and exited his body. X-rays provided by the family showed that several fragments remained in the child s torso at the time of his death. The boy s family, and pro-Awamiyah activists, say that the fatal wounds could not have been the result of anything other than the security forces armed car aiming at civilians.
The Saudi government was contacted for comment on the allegation that its troops or police had caused the boy s death, but did not immediately respond. The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) and European-Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR), among other organisations, are now calling for an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Sajaad s death. At least one other child a two-year-old boy has been killed in the clashes between government forces and armed Shia protesters in Awamiyah, in Saudi Arabia s eastern Qatif province, since violence broke out on 10 May.
Locals say between 12-25 people have died in indiscriminate shelling and sniper fire which has completely flattened parts of the old al-Musawara neighbourhood . Riyadh has repeatedly denied such claims. While there has been periodic violence, including car bombs and attacks on police in the region since 2011 Arab Spring2 calls for equality for the country s minority Shia citizens, a full-blown siege situation developed in May after attempts to evict residents from Awamiyah turned violent three months ago . The militarised conflict between the state and its citizens is unprecendented , Human Rights Watch previously told The Independent. Information from the contested district has been difficult to verify as it is heavily controlled by the Saudi state, but sources both inside and outside the city say that the humanitarian situation for Awamiyah s 30,000 residents has been untenable people have been too afraid to leave their homes, and in many cases the electricity supply and water had been shut off.
Journalists were allowed into the area on a government-chaperoned trip for the first time in months on Wednesday, reporting back scenes of devastation more usual in a war zone than one of the wealthiest cities in the Gulf. Rusted cars and half-destroyed buildings were peppered with bullet holes.
The land which is mixed with the blood of martyrs gets sufficiently watered by God s light to defeat the mighty, a Reuters report said one piece of graffiti read. The neighbourhood was deserted, suggesting the heaviest fighting may be over after most residents fled the town in the last week through two government-approved routes out .
At least one explosion was heard later in the day. In a statement provided to The Independent on 8 August, a spokesperson for the Saudi government said that Due to its narrow streets, the al-Musawara neighbourhood became a haven for terrorists and suspicious activities ranging from terrorism and kidnapping to selling drugs and weapons, which is why it had been targeted for demolition and redevelopment. Locals had been given ample notice and compensation for moving, the authorities said although several local accounts contest these claims.
While some accommodation in nearby towns has been provided, it has been criticised as not nearly enough to cope with demand. There are reportedly huge discrepancies in what is on offer . Pictures shared by activists and a Berlin-based Saudi lawyer attempting to help those moved out their homes show cramped and very dirty apartments meant to house large families.
While people living nearby initially opened their doors to those fleeing Awamiyah, a 3 July letter reportedly from the Ministry of Social Development shared with The Independent ordered local charities to stop providing shelter or other help for those displaced because the security sensitive operation lay outside their geographical remit. In April a UN panel condemned the Saudi government s redevelopment plans, accusing the authorities of attempting to forcibly remove residents from Awamiyah without offering adequate resettlement options in an operation which threatens the historical and cultural heritage of the town with irreparable harm . Esam Abdullatef Almulla, the region s acting mayor, dismissed the UN s concerns on Wednesday, telling reporters: We informed everyone in the community there would be development stages for several areas in Qatif, starting with Musawara.
Of course, we didn t get approval from everyone, but most Qatif and Awamiya residents wanted to see their neighbourhoods developed, he added.
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A family claiming to be from Haiti drag their luggage over the US-Canada border into Canada from Champlain, New York, U.S . August 3, 2017. Reuters
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A disabled man prepares to cast his vote at a polling station in Kigali, Rwanda, August 4, 2017
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ATTENTION EDITORS -People carry the body of Yawar Nissar, a suspected militant, who according to local media was killed during a gun battle with Indian security forces at Herpora village, during his funeral in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district August 4, 2017. Reuters
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A general view shows a flooded area in Sakon Nakhon province, Thailand August 4, 2017.
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A plane landed in Sao Joao Beach, killing two people, in Costa da Caparica, Portugal August 2, 2017
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Hermitage Capital CEO William Browder waits to testify before a continuation of Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 27, 2017
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TOPSHOT – Moto taxi driver hold flags of the governing Rwanda Patriotic Front’s at the beginning of a parade in Kigali, on August 02, 2017 . Incumbent Rwandan President Paul Kagame will close his electoral campaigning ahead of the August 4, presidential elections which he is widely expected to win giving him a third term in office
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TOPSHOT – Migrants wait to be rescued by the Aquarius rescue ship run by non-governmental organisations (NGO) “SOS Mediterranee” and “Medecins Sans Frontieres” (Doctors Without Borders) in the Mediterranean Sea, 30 nautic miles from the Libyan coast, on August 2, 2017. AFP
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Two children hold a placard picturing a plane as they take part in a demonstration in central Athens outside the German embassy with others refugees and migrants to protest against the limitation of reunification of families in Germany, on August 2, 2017. AFP
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Flames erupt as clashes break out while the Constituent Assembly election is being carried out in Caracas, Venezuela, July 30, 2017 .
REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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People in the village of Gabarpora carry the remains of Akeel Ahmad Bhat, a civilian who according to local media died following clashes after two militants were killed in an encounter with Indian security forces in Hakripora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, August 2, 2017 . REUTERS/Danish Ismail
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– Incumbent Rwandan President Paul Kagame gestures as he arrives for the closing rally of the presidential campaign in Kigali, on August 2, 2017 while supporters greet him . Rwandans go the polls on August 4, 2017 in a presidential election in which strongman Paul Kagame is widely expected to cruise to a third term in office. AFP
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Soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) get ready for the military parade to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the army at Zhurihe military training base in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. REUTERS
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Cyclists at the start of the first stage of the Tour de Pologne cycling race, over 130km from Krakow’s Main Market Square, Poland
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Israeli border guards keep watch as Palestinian Muslim worshippers pray outside Jerusalem’s old city overlooking the Al-Aqsa mosque compound
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A supporter of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif passes out after the Supreme Court’s decision to disqualify Sharif in Lahore
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Australian police officers participate in a training scenario called an ‘Armed Offender/Emergency Exercise’ held at an international passenger terminal located on Sydney Harbour
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North Korean soldiers watch the south side as the United Nations Command officials visit after a commemorative ceremony for the 64th anniversary of the Korean armistice at the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas
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Bangladeshi commuters use a rickshaw to cross a flooded street amid heavy rainfall in Dhaka .
Bangladesh is experiencing downpours following a depression forming in the Bay of Bengal. Munir Uz Zaman/AFP
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The Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft for the next International Space Station (ISS) crew of Paolo Nespoli of Italy, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Russia, and Randy Bresnik of the U.S., is transported from an assembling hangar to the launchpad ahead of its upcoming launch, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan
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A protester shouts at U.S . President Donald Trump as he is removed from his rally with supporters in an arena in Youngstown, Ohio
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Indian supporters of Gorkhaland chant slogans tied with chains during a protest march in capital New Delhi . Eastern India’s hill resort of Darjeeling has been rattled at the height of tourist season after violent clashes broke out between police and hundreds of protesters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) a long-simmering separatist movement that has long called for a separate state for ethnic Gorkhas in West Bengal . The GJM wants a new, separate state of “Gorkhaland” carved out of eastern West Bengal state, of which Darjeeling is a part.
Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images
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Demonstrators clash with riot security forces while rallying against Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela . The banner on the bridge reads “It will be worth it”
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The Heathcote river as it rises to high levels in Christchurch, New Zealand . Heavy rain across the South Island in the last 24 hours has caused widespread damage and flooding with Dunedin, Waitaki, Timaru and the wider Otago region declaring a state of emergency. Getty Images
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A mourner prays at a memorial during an event to commemorate the first anniversary of the shooting spree that one year ago left ten people dead, including the shooter in Munich, Germany . One year ago 18-year-old student David S . shot nine people dead and injured four others at and near a McDonalds restaurant and the Olympia Einkaufszentrum shopping center . After a city-wide manhunt that caused mass panic and injuries David S .
shot himself in a park . According to police David S., who had dual German and Iranian citizenship, had a history of mental troubles. Getty
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Palestinians react following tear gas that was shot by Israeli forces after Friday prayer on a street outside Jerusalem’s Old City
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Ousted former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra greets supporters as she arrives at the Supreme Court in Bangkok, Thailand
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Marek Suski of Law and Justice (PiS) (C) party scuffles with Miroslaw Suchon (2nd L) of Modern party (.Nowoczesna) as Michal Szczerba of Civic Platform (PO) (L) party holds up a copy of the Polish Constitution during the parliamentary Commission on Justice and Human Rights voting on the opposition’s amendments to the bill that calls for an overhaul of the Supreme Court in Warsaw
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A firefighter stands near a grass fire as he prepares to defend a home from the Detwiler fire in Mariposa, California
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Michael Lindell ,CEO of My Pillow reacts as U.S . President Donald Trump attends a Made in America roundtable meeting in the East Room of the White House
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Giant pandas lie beside ice blocks at Yangjiaping Zoo in Chongqing, China . Yangjiaping Zoo provided huge ice blocks for giant pandas to help them remove summer heat
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People ride camels in the desert in Dunhuang, China, as stage 10 of The Silkway Rally continues
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17th FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary . Team North Korea practice under coach supervision
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IAAF World ParaAthletics Championships – London, Britain – July 17, 2017
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Workers check power lines during maintenance work in Laian, in China’s eastern Anhui province
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Russia Kamaz’s driver Dmitry Sotnikov, co-drivers Ruslan Akhmadeev and Ilnur Mustafin compete during the Stage 9 of the Silk Way 2017 between Urumqi and Hami, China
Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images
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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull talks with Special Operations Command soldiers during a visit to the Australian Army’s Holsworthy Barracks in western Sydney
AAP/Brendan Esposito/via Reuters
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Men in traditional sailor costumes celebrate after carrying a statue of the El Carmen Virgin, who is worshipped as the patron saint of sailors, into the Mediterranean Sea during a procession in Torremolinos, near Malaga, Spain
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People participate in a protest in front of the Sejm building (the lower house of the Polish parliament) in Warsaw, Poland . The demonstration was organized by Committee for the Defense of Democracy (KOD) .
Members and supporters of the KOD and opposition parties protested against changes in the judicial law and the Supreme Court
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People prepare to swim with a portrait of late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong on the bank of the Yangtze River in Yichang, Hubei province, China to celebrate the 51st anniversary of Chairman Mao swimming in the Yangtze River. REUTERS
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A woman takes a selfie picture with her mobile phone next to the statue of Omer Halisdemir in Istanbul, in front of a memorial with the names of people killed last year during the failed coup attempt . AFP/Getty Images
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French President Emmanuel Macron gestures next to US President Donald Trump during the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris.
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Philippine National Police chief Ronald Bato Dela Rosa holds an M60 machine gun during a Gun and Ammunition show at a mall in Mandaluyong city, metro Manila, Philippines
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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker embrace before the EU-Ukraine summit in Kiev, Ukraine
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US President Donald Trump (R) and First Lady Melania Trump disembark form Air Force One upon arrival at Paris Orly airport on July 13, 2017, beginning a 24-hour trip that coincides with France’s national day and the 100th anniversary of US involvement in World War I
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
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Iraqis walk on a damaged street in west Mosul a few days after the government’s announcement of the liberation of the embattled city from Islamic State (IS) group fighters
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Iraqi boys wash a vehicle in west Mosul a few days after the government’s announcement of the liberation of the embattled city from Islamic State (IS) group fighters
Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images
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Afghan policeman pour fuel over jerry cans containing confiscated acetic acid before setting it alight on the outskirts of Herat . Some 15,000 liters of acetic acid, often mixed with heroin, were destroyed by counter narcotics police
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Police from the anti-terror squad participate in an anti-terror performance among Acehnese dancers during a ceremony to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the Indonesian police corps in Banda Aceh
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Residents stand amid the debris of their homes which were torn down in the evicted area of the Bukit Duri neighbourhood located on the Ciliwung river banks in Jakarta
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Boys play cricket at a parking lot as it rains in Chandigarh, India
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Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at the 22nd World Petroleum Congress (WPC) in Istanbul
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New Mongolia’s president Khaltmaa Battulga takes an oath during his inauguration ceremony in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
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US army 1st Division, US air force, US Navy and US Marines, march down the Champs Elysees, with the Arc de Triomphe in the background, in Paris during a rehearsal of the annual Bastille Day military parade
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Participants run ahead of Puerto de San Lorenzo’s fighting bulls during the third bull run of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, northern Spain . Each day at 8:00 am hundreds of people race with six bulls, charging along a winding, 848.6-metre (more than half a mile) course through narrow streets to the city’s bull ring, where the animals are killed in a bullfight or corrida, during this festival, immortalised in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises” and dating back to medieval times and also featuring religious processions, folk dancing, concerts and round-the-clock drinking. AFP/Getty Images
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Iraqi women, who fled the fighting between government forces and Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in the Old City of Mosul, cry as they stand in the city’s western industrial district awaiting to be relocated
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US President Donald Trump arrives for another working session during the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany
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People climb up on a roof to get a view during riots in Hamburg, northern Germany, where leaders of the world’s top economies gather for a G20 summit
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Anti-capitalism activists protest in Hamburg, where leaders of the world s top economies will gather for a G20 summit. AFP/Getty
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A military helicopter rescues people trapped on the roof of the Ministry of Finance by an intense fire in San Salvador
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Donald Trump arrives to deliver a speech at Krasinski Square in Warsaw, Poland.
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A firefighter conducts rescue operations in an area damaged by heavy rain in Asakura, Japan. Reuters
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Crowds gather for the start of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain. AFP
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A member of the Iraqi security forces runs with his weapon during a fight between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq.
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A U.S . MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile is fired during the combined military exercise between the U.S . and South Korea against North Korea at an undisclosed location in South Korea
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North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un looks on during the test-fire of inter-continental ballistic missile Hwasong-14
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Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during a signing ceremony following the talks at the Kremlin
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Belarussian servicemen march during a military parade as part of celebrations marking the Independence Day in Minsk, Belarus
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Ambulance cars and fire engines are seen near the site where a coach burst into flames after colliding with a lorry on a motorway near Muenchberg, Germany
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An aerial view shows women swimming in the Yenisei River on a hot summer day, with the air temperature at about 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 degrees Fahrenheit), outside Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia, June 28, 2017
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Protesters demonstrating against the upcoming G20 economic summit ride boats on Inner Alster lake during a protest march in Hamburg, Germany . Hamburg will host the upcoming G20 summit and is expecting heavy protests throughout. Getty Images
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Investigators work at the scene of a car bomb explosion which killed Maxim Shapoval, a high-ranking official involved in military intelligence, in Kiev, Ukraine, June 27, 2017
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Protesters carry a large image of jailed Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo as they march during the annual pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong .
Thousands joined an annual protest march in Hong Kong, hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up his visit to the city by warning against challenges to Beijing’s sovereignty. AP
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Jockey Andrea Coghe of “Selva” (Forest) parish rides his horse during the first practice for the Palio Horse Race in Siena, Italy June 30, 2017
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A man takes pictures with a phone with a Union Flag casing after Chinese President Xi Jinping (not pictured) inspected troops at the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison as part of events marking the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover from British to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, China June 30, 2017
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A protester against U.S . President Donald Trump’s limited travel ban, approved by the U.S . Supreme Court, holds a sign next to protesters supporting the ban, in New York City, U.S., June 29, 2017
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Israeli Air Force Efroni T-6 Texan II planes perform at an air show during the graduation of new cadet pilots at Hatzerim base in the Negev desert, near the southern Israeli city of Beer Sheva
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A woman gestures next to people spraying insecticide on a vehicle during a mosquito-control operation led by Ivory Coast’s National Public and Health Institute in Bingerville, near Abidjan where several cases of dengue fever were reported
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A Libyan coast guardsman watches over as illegal immigrants arrive to land in a dinghy during the rescue of 147 people who attempted to reach Europe off the coastal town of Zawiyah, 45 kilometres west of the capital Tripoli, on June 27, 2017 . More than 8,000 migrants have been rescued in waters off Libya during the past 48 hours in difficult weather conditions, Italy’s coastguard said on June 27, 2017
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A man leaves after voting in the Mongolian presidential election at the Erdene Sum Ger (Yurt) polling station in Tuul Valley .
Mongolians cast ballots on June 26 to choose between a horse breeder, a judoka and a feng shui master in a presidential election rife with corruption scandals and nationalist rhetoric
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People attend Eid al-Fitr prayers to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan at a play ground in the suburb of Sale, Morocco
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A plain-clothes police officer kicks a member of a group of LGBT rights activist as Turkish police prevent them from going ahead with a Gay Pride annual parade on 25 June 2017 in Istanbul, a day after it was banned by the city governor’s office. AFP/Getty Images
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Pakistan army soldiers stands guard while rescue workers examine the site of an oil tanker explosion at a highway near Bahawalpur, Pakistan . An overturned oil tanker burst into flames in Pakistan on Sunday, killing more than one hundred people who had rushed to the scene of the highway accident to gather leaking fuel, an official said.
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Rescue workers search for survivors at the site of a landslide that occurred in Xinmo Village, Mao County, Sichuan province, China
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Student activists shout anti martial law slogans during a protest in Manila on June 23, 2017
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A diver performs from the Pont Alexandre III bridge into the River Seine in Paris, France, June 23, 2017 as Paris transforms into a giant Olympic park to celebrate International Olympic Days with a variety of sporting events for the public across the city during two days as the city bids to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games
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Debris and smoke are seen after an OV-10 Bronco aircraft released a bomb, during an airstrike, as government troops continue their assault against insurgents from the Maute group, who have taken over parts of Marawi city, Philippines June 23, 2017
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Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) stands under pouring rain during a wreath-laying ceremony marking the 76th anniversary of the Nazi German invasion, by the Kremlin walls in Moscow, on June 22, 2017
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Smoke rises following a reported air strike on a rebel-held area in the southern Syrian city of Daraa, on June 22, 2017