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At least 20 dead bodies found in South African nightclub, with no ‘visible signs of injuries’

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A horrific scene took place inside of a South African nightclub on Sunday. At least 21 people were reportedly found dead inside, which majority of the victims ranging in ages 13 years to 20 years old.

The Associated Press reported dead bodies were strewn across chairs and tables at Enyobeni Tavern in East London, a coastal South African town. The victims were at the club to celebrate the end of their winter school exams, and there were no signs of outward injuries, the outlet reported.

One girl who allegedly attended the party told Al Jazeera that she snuck out of her parents’ house once they fell asleep in order to go to the nightclub. Once there, she claimed the tavern became overcrowded, and security guards asked patrons to leave.

When people did not leave, she says guards started to spray an unknown substance into the crowd. “The man at the door, I think he was a bouncer, he closed the door and we couldn’t breathe. We suffocated for a long time and [were] pushing each other but there was no use because some people were dying,” the young woman told Al Jazeera.

“It smelled like gas. I’m not sure if it was tear gas or pepper spray. Then some people died and I also fell asleep for three hours. Then when they woke us up, they also thought I was dead,” she continued. The young woman was reportedly unable to stand after she woke up.

Authorities arrived around 4:00 a.m. after receiving a series of frantic phone calls from people at the tavern, Al Jazeera reported.

“At this point we cannot confirm the cause of death. We are going to conduct autopsies as soon as possible to establish the probable cause of death,” Health Department spokesperson Siyanda Manana said, according to The AP.

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International

VP Kamala Harris publicly mourns Palestinians killed in hostage rescue operation

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Vice President Kamala Harris mourned the Palestinians in Gaza who were killed in the successful Israeli hostage rescue operation this weekend during an address delivered over the weekend.

Israeli forces say Hamas intentionally kept the hostages in a “civilian environment.” They also said even the Palestinians who were holding the hostages were also “civilians.”

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari of the IDF said Hamas has been holding hostages inside civilian buildings, including the locations where Israeli forces rescued Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 22, Shlomi Ziv, 41, and Andrey Kozlov, 27.

“Before I begin, I just say a few words about the morning which I know weighs heavily on all of our hearts,” she said.

“On Oct. 7, Hamas committed a brutal massacre of 1,200 innocent people and abducted 250 hostages,” she continued. “Thankfully, four of those hostages were reunited with their families tonight. And we mourn all of the innocent lives that have been lost in Gaza, including those tragically killed today.”

The Israeli operation retrieved four hostages who were taken into Gaza by Hamas on Oct. 7. Harris, speaking before the Michigan Democratic Party, celebrated their retrieval but spent more time lamenting the deaths of Palestinians killed in the operation, many of whom Israel has described as terrorists.

“We have been working every day to bring an end to this conflict in a way that ensures Israel is secure, brings home all hostages, ends ongoing suffering for Palestinian people and ensures that Palestinians can enjoy their right to self-determination, dignity and freedom,” Harris added. “As President Biden said last week, it is time for this war to end.”

Fox News reports that Hamas-run authorities in Gaza claim over 270 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli operation, though they make no distinction between militants and innocents. Israeli forces claim the number was fewer than 100.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan also confirmed reports on Sunday that some number of innocents appeared to have been killed in the operation.

“We the United States are not in a position today to make a definitive statement about [the death toll],” Sullivan said in a Sunday interview with CNN. “But we do know this: innocent people were tragically killed in this operation. The exact number we don’t know, but innocent people were killed.”

“Every day that we see more innocent people lost is another horrible, awful, tragic day,” he added.

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