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Ex-PM Abe assassinated

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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the victim of a fatal gun attack while taking part in a campaign for the House of Councillors election in Nara city on July 8. AFP

Ex-PM Abe assassinated

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the victim of a fatal gun attack while taking part in a campaign for the House of Councillors election in Nara city on July 8.

After being shot at around 11:30 (0230 GMT), he went into cardiopulmonary arrest, according to firefighters. He was transported by ambulance and medical helicopter to Nara Medical University Hospital in Kashihara, Nara prefecture.

According to police sources, Abe, 67, was shot from behind in the upper back area, with what is thought to be a shotgun. Two shots were heard, according to witnesses.

Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, of Nara city, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder at 11:32am. Yamagami is believed to have shot Abe at close range and a gun has been recovered, according to a police officer.

“I had no grudge against former Prime Minister Abe for his political beliefs,” Yamagami was quoted as telling the police during questioning, according to Nara prefectural police sources.

Yamagami, whose current occupation is unknown, is said to have served as a Maritime Self-Defense Force member until 2005, according to a government source. The defence ministry is gathering information about the man.

A Yomiuri Shimbun reporter was also at the scene covering the upper house election campaign. Abe, a former Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) president, arrived at the stump speech venue in front of Yamato-Saidaiji Station in the city at about 11:20am to give a speech to support an LDP candidate.

Shortly after Abe took hold of a microphone to introduce the candidate while surrounded by the crowd, Yamagami approached him from behind, holding a gun-like object. Loud sounds were heard immediately afterward, and Abe collapsed at the scene, according to witnesses.

The scene became chaotic as people screamed and called for an ambulance and medical personnel.

An ambulance arrived about 15 minutes later, and Abe was transported to a hospital.

THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN (JAPAN)

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