Boko Haram gunmen killed many people in an attack in the restive northeast, throwing explosives into residential homes and shooting dead civilians who tried to surrender, an official and witnesses said Friday. Residents in the town of Damboa said they were left completely defenceless after the security forces pulled out of the area following a militant attack two weeks ago. Women and children fled into the bush," said an official with the Damboa local government, who requested anonymity. Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group in Nigeria blamed for slaughtering more than 2,000 civilians already this year, has increasingly targeted remote northeastern communities, razing entire villages while firing indiscriminately on the population.
Dutch families jetting off to exotic destinations, more than 100 AIDS experts, British football fans and a twice unlucky Australian family were among victims of the doomed Malaysia Airlines plane that crashed in eastern Ukraine. "It was my brother and best friend," said a distraught Sander Essers, 66, who lost his brother Peter, sister-in-law Jolette Neusink and their two children Emma, 20 and Valentijn, 17 in the crash. Peter Essers' wife, Jolette, was a clinical psychologist who ran her own practice and ironically worked with victims traumatised by war. Also on board was prominent former International AIDS Society president Joep Lange, who together with as many as 100 other Aids activists were on their way to Melbourne for the 20th International Aids Conference, media reports said.
(Reuters) - A Dutch doctoral student and former member of the Indiana University rowing team was among the passengers killed when Malaysian airliner went down in Ukraine, the university said Friday in a statement. Karlijn Keijzer, 25, was a doctoral student in the chemistry department in the university's college of Arts and Sciences, had earned a master's degree from the university and was a member of the women's rowing team in the 2011 season, the university said. "The Indiana rowing family is deeply saddened by the news of Karlijn's sudden passing," Indiana head rowing coach Steve Peterson said in a statement.
ROZSYPNE, Ukraine (AP) — Emergency workers, police officers and even off-duty coal miners — dressed in overalls and covered in soot — spread out Friday across the sunflower fields and villages of eastern Ukraine, searching the wreckage of a jetliner shot down as it flew miles above the country's battlefield.
By Sonali Paul and Robin Emmott MELBOURNE/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The world of AIDS research was in shock on Friday after dozens of leading HIV experts were feared killed when a Malaysian plane was shot down over Ukraine, fuelling concerns that research on curing the disease could suffer. Among them was Joep Lange, who researched the condition for more than 30 years and was considered a giant in the field, admired for his tireless advocacy for access to affordable AIDS drugs for HIV positive patients living in poor countries. "Global health and the AIDS response have lost one of their great leaders," Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a former executive director of UNAIDS, told Reuters in London. "Joep Lange was one of the most creative AIDS researchers, a humanist, and tireless organiser, dedicated to his patients and to defeating AIDS in the poorest countries." The United Nations AIDS program, UNAIDS, said it feared "some of the finest academics, health-care workers and activists in the AIDS response may have perished" on the plane.
By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Allyn Fisher-Ilan GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel intensified its land offensive in Gaza with artillery, tanks and gunboats on Friday and warned it could "significantly widen" an operation Palestinian officials said was killing ever greater numbers of civilians. Palestinian health officials said 27 Palestinians, including a baby, two children and a 70-year-old woman, had been killed since Israel sent ground forces into the densely-populated strip of 1.8 million Palestinians on Thursday. The land advance followed 10 days of barrages against Gaza from air and sea, hundreds of rockets fired by Hamas into Israel and failed Egyptian attempts to secure a ceasefire. Rocket salvoes, many of them intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile shield system, continued on Friday against southern Israel, police said, causing no casualties.