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Lebanon police rescue 75 Syrian sex slaves

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BEIRUT – Lebanon`s security forces have dismantled the country`s biggest known sex trafficking ring and liberated 75 mainly Syrian women, a security source said on Friday.

They had been raped and beaten, while some showed signs of “mutilation”, a statement from the Internal Security Forces said.

“This is the largest sex trafficking ring we`ve uncovered since the outbreak of the Syrian war,” a Lebanese security source told AFP.

Police officers in the Mount Lebanon region north of Beirut “identified and arrested a group of people who made up Lebanon`s most dangerous human trafficking network”, the ISF statement said.

Cops in the Mount Lebanon district north of Beirut “distinguished and captured a gathering of individuals who made up Lebanon`s most unsafe human trafficking system”, the ISF proclamation said.

They “rescued 75 women, most of them Syrian nationals who had been subjected to beatings and psychological and physical torture, forced to perform sexual acts and had indecent images of them taken and distributed,” it said.

Ten men and eight women guarding the apartments where the victims were kept have been arrested, the statement said.

Two other suspects remain at large.

Speaking to AFP, the security source added that “an eight-month-old baby, likely the child of one of the rescued women, was also found”.

Even before the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, Syrian women had been pushed into the illicit sex trade in neighbouring Lebanon.

“However, as with any war, conflict has made Syrian women and children even more vulnerable,” the source said.

AFP

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5 dead as gunman attacks churchgoers in Russia

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At least five people were killed and another five were injured when a gunman attacked a crowd of people leaving a church on Sunday in Russia’s southern province of Dagestan, Russian news agencies reported.

The attack occurred in the village of Kizlyar in the Muslim-majority republic of Dagestan.

Russian news agencies said the attack occurred as churchgoers celebrated Maslenitsa, a Christian holiday marking the last day before Lent according to the eastern Orthodox calendar.

CCTV footage from the site of the deadly shooting shows a man armed with a rifle gunning down two women in broad daylight.

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A bearded man clad in a black vest and camouflage pants was seen crossing the street before opening fire on two female churchgoers as they left a service in Kizlyar in the Republic of Dagestan on Sunday afternoon. A woman walking several meters from the attacker was seen rushing away as the bloodshed unfolded.

The attacker was identified as a 22-year-old man local to the region, the TASS news agency said, citing the investigative committee.

He was shot and killed by security services who were on duty nearby, TASS said, adding that a hunting rifle, bullets and a knife were discovered on his person.

Initial reports suggested all five victims were women, TASS said, citing the local branch of the interior ministry.

Agencies

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