Brief updates on tragedies domestic and abroad

Boston terrorized by violence

On April 15, the Boston Marathon 2013 was interrupted by two separate bombings at the finish line. The attacks, allegedly orchestrated by brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, left three dead and more than 280 injured. On April 18, the brothers also engaged in a shooting at MIT, resulting in a carjacking, a shootout with the Watertown police and the death of MIT police officer Sean Collier.

On April 19, Tamerlan was fatally injured by his brother, who was arrested by authorities shortly thereafter. Dzhokhar has been charged with the use of a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death.

Iraq rocked by wave of violence

Over 75 people were killed and hundreds wounded in a string of bombings and shootings across Iraq on April 15, five days before the first elections since the U.S. withdrew military forces from the region.

In the country’s capital of Baghdad, 30 people lost their lives, and 92 others were severely injured. Most of the victims were civilians, though police officers, soldiers and election candidates were murdered as well. Iraqi authorities arrested numerous suspects connected with Sunni extremist groups, but the bombings sparked a spree of protests and riots that have continued post-election, leaving an additional 111 dead and 233 wounded.

Plant explosion levels West Texas

A fertilizer plant north of Waco, Texas exploded on April 18, leaving at least 15 dead and more than 200 wounded. The explosion occurred after a fire broke out in the plant and spread to tanks holding anhydrous ammonia — a cheap, highly combustible fertilizer.

The shock of the explosion was strong enough to register as a low-magnitude earthquake on local seismographs, and the blast was heard over 50 miles away. Firefighters and other emergency workers responding to the scene rank among the dead.

The cause of the fire remains unknown, but investigators have ruled out foul play and natural causes such as lightning.

Syrian army slaughtered 250

On April 21, Syrian opposition forces reported that their government shot and killed at least 80 people in a town south of Damascus, and then proceeded to arrest the masses as residents tried to bury their loved ones. Residents in the town of Jdaidet al-Fadl described a three-day campaign in which soldiers and loyalist militias burned houses, arrested dozens, took control of field hospitals and killed the wounded. The death toll is nearly 250 victims. Identifying and counting the bodies has been a challenge because many are too disfigured. The clash between civilians who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and those who fight against him has been named as the cause of this violence, which has been ongoing for many years.

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