Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 18th 2015 Contents A21
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BAGHDAD---A suicide car
bombing in Iraq s eastern
Diyala province killed at least
40 people gathered at a mar-
ketplace to mark the end of
the holy month of Ramadan.
Iraqi police officials said at
least 40 people were also
wounded in the attack in the
town of Khan Beni Saad.
Hospital officials confirmed
the death tolls. The officials
spoke on condition of
anonymity because they were
not authorised to talk to the
The Islamic State group has
claimed responsibility for the
attacks, according to messages
posted on Twitter.
The claim could not be inde-
pendently verified but it was
posted by accounts commonly
associated with the group.
Parts of Diyala were captured
by the Islamic State group last
year. Iraqi forces and Kurdish
fighters have since retaken those
areas, but clashes between the
militants and security forces
The Sunni militant group has
been behind several similar
large-scale attacks on civilians
or military checkpoints as it
seeks to expand its territory,
which includes a third of Iraq
Suicide car bomb kills 40
CHATTANOOGA---The FBI said yes-
terday that the gunman who opened
fire on two military facilities in
Chattanooga and killed four Marines
had at least two long guns and one
handgun, and that investigators
were examining his international
Some of the gun purchases were
legal and some were not, FBI agent
Ed Reinhold said at a news confer-
ence. He said investigators were also
looking at all of his overseas travel of
24-year-old Muhammad Youssef
Abdulazeez, who was killed by police.
Investigators are trying to under-
stand why the Kuwait-born man
opened fire on the US military sites
and raised the specter of terrorism
on US soil. Abdulazeez did not appear
to have been on the radar of federal
authorities before the bloodshed
Thursday, officials said. But now
counterterrorism investigators are
taking a deep look at his online activ-
ities and foreign travel, searching for
clues to his political views or influ-
The gunman opened fire Thursday
at a Marine-Navy reserve facility. The
FBI, which is leading the investigation
into the attacks, said he was wearing
a load-bearing vest that allowed him
to move about while carrying addi-
In addition to the Marines killed,
three people were wounded, including
a sailor who was seriously hurt.
The dead were identified yesterday
by the Marines as Gunnery Sgt
Thomas J Sullivan, Staff Sgt. David
A Wyatt, Sgt Carson A Holmquistn
and Lance Cpl Squire K "Skip" Wells.
Sullivan, Wyatt and Holmquist had
served in Iraq, Afghanistan or both.
The US Attorney in eastern Ten-
nessee said the attacks were being
treated as a terrorism investigation.
Bill Killian said Thursday that inves-
tigators will "let the facts and the
evidence lead us where it may."
A relative of Abdulazeez said he
has family in the West Bank and that
he visited Jordan last year. The rel-
ative, who spoke on condition of
anonymity because the person feared
repercussions, says Muhammad
Youssef Abdulazeez was a "nice, edu-
cated guy." Abdulazeez met the rel-
ative for the first time during his visit
to Jordan last year, and the two spoke
for about an hour. During that time,
the relative saw no hints of violence.
The relative said his parents are
both from the West Bank. The relative
said the family are mainstream Mus-
lims, not fundamentalists. The person
says "they fast, they pray and that is
it."Residents in the quiet neighbour-
hood in Hixson, Tennessee, where
Abdulazeez lived in a two-story home
said they would see him walking along
the wide streets or doing yard work.
One neighbour recalled Abdulazeez
giving him a ride home when he
became stranded in a snowstorm.
"It s kind of a general consensus
from people that interacted with him
that he was just your average citizen
there in the neighbourhood. There
was no reason to suspect anything
otherwise," said Ken Smith, a city
councilman who met with neighbours
Abdulazeez mother, Rasmia
Ibrahim Abdulazeez, filed a divorce
complaint in 2009 accusing her hus-
band, Youssuf Saed Abdulazeez, of
beating her repeatedly in front of
their children and sexually assaulting
her. She also accused him of "striking
and berating" the children without
provocation. Weeks later, the couple
agreed to reconcile, with the father
consenting to go to counselling.
Abdulazeez graduated from Red
Bank High School in Chattanooga,
where he was on the wrestling team.
He got an engineering degree from
the University of Tennessee at Chat-
tanooga in 2012 and worked as an
intern a few years ago at the Ten-
nessee Valley Authority, the federally
owned utility that operates power
plants and dams across the South.
He was conditionally hired as an
engineer at the Perry nuclear power
plant near Cleveland and spent ten
days there before he was let go in
May 2013 because he failed a back-
ground check, said Todd Schneider,
a FirstEnergy Corp spokesman.
Schneider would not say why. For
the last three months, he had been
working at Superior Essex Inc, which
designs and makes wire and cable
DETROIT---Declaring a "house of horrors"
closed, a judge sentenced a Detroit mother to
life in prison yesterday for killing two of her
four children and storing their bodies for years
in a home freezer.
Mitchelle Blair was charged, convicted and
sentenced in less than four months, since a
shocked eviction crew discovered the bodies in
a freezer in March. She pleaded guilty in June to
first-degree murder, insisting she d take the death
penalty if Michigan had it.
"You imposed the death penalty on your own
children," Judge Dana Hathaway said.
"I did," Blair, 36, replied.
Blair killed her 13-year-old daughter, Stoni, in
2013 and nine-year-old son, Stephen, in 2012.
She claims they had sexually abused a sibling,
although she didn t witness the alleged assaults
and never reported anything to police.
"There is no evidence...the younger child was
sexually abused. Abundant evidence that the sur-
viving children were physically abused (by Blair),"
prosecutor Carin Goldfarb told the judge.
Blair admitted pouring hot water on the children
who died, beating them with sticks and putting
trash bags over their heads.
"As a mother, one of your primary responsi-
bilities was to protect your kids," Hathaway said.
"And in that respect, you failed in the worst
Before receiving the mandatory, no-parole sen-
tence, Blair spent several minutes criticising the
fathers of the children who didn t have much of
a role in their lives.
Defence attorney Wyatt Harris said Blair was
abused as a child, had little education and then
had her own children.
Friends and neighbours said they didn t know
there was trouble in the home and rarely saw
Blair s four children. Two surviving kids, ages 17
and 8, have been placed with an aunt.
Blair has expressed no remorse and refers to
the dead children as "demons." "I haven t lied
about anything. As horrendous as everybody
think I am---that s fine," she told the judge. (AP)
Life for mom who stuffed kids in freezer
Tennessee terror killings...
Suspect was not on radar
Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez
HAVANA---Cuban officials say a
building collapsed in Old Havana
yesterday, killing four people.
A government statement pub-
lished in the Communist Party daily
Granma said the two-story building
contained two family homes.
The dead include a three-year-
old child, two 18-year-olds and a
60-year-old woman. Three other
people sustained injuries that were
Authorities said they were inves-
tigating what caused the structure s
"total collapse," including whether
remodelling being done on the first
floor was legal.
The colonial neighbourhood
contains most of Havana s oldest
Many are sorely decayed for lack
of maintenance and vulnerable to
structural failures that are regularly
triggered by heavy rains. (AP)
4 dead as
Mitchelle Blair is surrounded by Wayne County Sheriff deputies and commanders as she addresses
the court before her sentencing yesterday in Detroit. AP PHOTO
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