TSA agent killed, 6 hurt in Los Angeles airport shooting


A gunman opened fire with an assault rifle in a terminal of Los Angeles International airport on Friday, killing a Transportation Security Agent and injuring at least six other people before he was shot and captured, authorities said.

The incident prompted scenes of chaos at the airport, which halted departing flights and evacuated the terminal. Streets surrounding the airport were also shut down.

“An individual came into Terminal 3 of this airport, pulled an assault rifle out of a bag and began to open fire in the terminal,” Patrick Gannon, chief of the Los Angeles Airport Police said at a press conference.

A U.S. Transportation Security Administration spokesperson said on Twitter that one of its agents had been killed in the shooting and another was wounded. The tweet was later deleted.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles County Coroner said it was handling one person who was killed in the shooting – a male, approximately 40 years old.

Earlier, the Los Angeles Times and ABC News reported that a TSA agent had been killed, citing law enforcement sources.

A Los Angeles fire department spokesman said seven people were hurt and that six of them were taken to area hospitals.

Los Angeles police spokeswoman Officer Norma Eisenman said a suspect had been taken into custody and was believed to be the only person involved in the shooting.

Three male victims hurt in the incident were taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where one was listed in critical condition and two others in fair condition, said Mark Wheeler, a spokesman for the hospital.

'PEOPLE STARTED RUNNING'

The condition of the other victims or the gunman was not immediately clear.

Passenger Robert Perez told a local CBS affiliate that airport security agents had come through the terminal shouting that a man had a gun.

“I heard popping and everybody dropped to the ground,” Perez said.

Alex Neumann told cable network CNN that he was in an area inside the airport past a security checkpoint when he heard loud noises and screaming and saw people running in a scene that amounted to mayhem.

“We were at the food court and all of a sudden I hear a big commotion and people started running. People were running and people getting knocked down,” Neumann said, adding that he heard screams. “Mayhem is the best way of describing it.”

Television images showed at least one person being loaded into one of several ambulances at the scene, and passengers were seen being evacuated from the area.

Footage showed emergency responders setting up what appeared to be a triage area outside an airport terminal.

“The general public is being held back… Other than arriving flights, flight operations have been temporary held,” airport spokeswoman Katherine Alvarado said in an emailed statement.

President Barack Obama was briefed on the incident and White House officials are in touch with law enforcement officials on the ground, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

Israeli military commander loses post following rifle-butt incident


Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner was dismissed from his command post following an investigation into an incident in which the Israeli soldier hit a Danish pro-Palestinian activist in the face with his rifle.

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz relieved Eisner of his position as deputy division commander on “moral grounds,” according to the IDF. Gantz said the probe also showed professional and command failures.

In addition to losing his command, Eisner will not become deputy commander of the Bahd 1 officers’ training school and will be ineligible to serve in commanding positions for the next two years.

Eisner had been suspended from his post late Sunday, hours after a video of the incident was posted on YouTube by the International Solidarity Movement. The incident occurred during a protest bike ride in the Jordan Valley. Four activists were wounded, Haaretz reported.

Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon, the Central Command chief of the IDF, on Sunday ordered an immediate investigation into the incident. Military Judge Advocate General Brig.-Gen. Avi Mandelblit also ordered a criminal investigation of Eisner.

Eisner was interrogated by Military Police investigators for the first time Monday evening, Ynet reported.

Eisner reportedly said he regretted the incident, but said the video represents one minute out of a two-hour event in which the protesters attacked the soldiers, breaking one of Eisner’s fingers and injuring his wrist. He is seen later in the video with his wrist and finger in a white bandage.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s office on Tuesday night released a statement condemning the incident.

“The defense minister has determined, in closed conversations, that there is no contradiction between carrying out operations, appropriate behavior and preserving the principles and spirit of the IDF,” said the statement.

The statement also said that Eisner’s statements in defense of his actions “are not accepted by the defense minister and were never acceptable by the IDF.”

Approximately 200 activists, including Palestinians from the West Bank and foreign activists, rode their bikes along Route 90, the Jordan Valley’s main north-south route, on April 14 to protest what the ISM calls on its website “regular harassment and attacks from Israeli settlers and soldiers.” Israeli soldiers halted the activists, who were blocking the main thoroughfare to traffic and began taking away their bicycles.

According to Ynet, Eisner said he did not use a water cannon that he had at the scene in order to disperse the protesters because there was an ongoing dialogue and he wanted to end the event peacefully.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the incident, saying that “Such behavior does not characterize IDF soldiers and officers and has no place in the Israel Defense Forces and in the State of Israel.”

Israeli officer who hit activist suspended pending investigation


A senior Israeli military officer caught on tape hitting an activist in the face with the butt of his rifle has been suspended pending the results of an investigation.

The International Solidarity Movement posted on YouTube a video of the incident, which took place Saturday during a protest bike ride in the Jordan Valley.

Approximately 200 activists, including Palestinians from the West Bank and foreign activists, rode their bikes along Route 90, the Jordan Valley’s main north-south route, to protest what the ISM calls on its website “regular harassment and attacks from Israeli settlers and soldiers.”

Israel Defense Forces soldiers halted the activists, who were blocking the main thoroughfare to traffic and began taking away their bicycles. The video shows Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner hitting an activist in the face with his M-16 rifle. Four activists were wounded in the incident, according to Haaretz.

Central Command Chief Ma.-Gen. Nitzan Alon late on Sunday ordered an immediate investigation into the incident. In addition, Military Judge Advocate General Brig.-Gen. Avi Mandelblit ordered a criminal investigation against Eisner.

“This event does not reflect the IDF’s values and will be thoroughly investigated and handled with the necessary severity,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said in a statement.

Eisner reportedly said he regrets the incident, but said the video represents one minute out of a two-hour event in which the protesters attacked the soldiers, breaking one of Eisner’s fingers and injured his wrist. He is seen later in the video with his wrist and finger in a white bandage.

According to Ynet, Eisner said he did not use a water cannon that he had at the scene in order to disperse the protesters because there was an ongoing dialogue and he wanted to end the event peacefully.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the incident, saying: “Such behavior does not characterize IDF soldiers and officers and has no place in the Israel Defense Forces and in the State of Israel.”