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The world in brief

by Compiled Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports | May 4, 2021 at 2:00 a.m.

400,000-member child-porn ring busted

BERLIN -- German prosecutors announced Monday they have busted one of the world's biggest international darknet platforms for child pornography, used by more than 400,000 registered members.

Frankfurt prosecutors said in a statement together with the Federal Criminal Police Office that in mid-April three German suspects, said to be the administrators of the "Boystown" platform, were arrested along with a German user. One of the three main suspects was arrested in Paraguay.

They also searched seven buildings in connection with the porn ring in mid-April in Germany.

The authorities said the platform was "one of the world's biggest child pornography darknet platforms" and had been active at least since 2019. Pedophiles used it to exchange and watch pornography of children and toddlers, most of them boys, from all over the world.

The three main suspects were a 40-year-old man from Paderborn, a 49-year-old man from Munich and a 58-year-old man from northern Germany who had been living in Paraguay for many years, the prosecutors' statement said. They worked as administrators of the site and gave advice to members on how to evade law enforcement when using the platform for illegal child pornography.

A fourth suspect, a 64-year-old man from Hamburg, is accused of being one of the most active users of the platform, having allegedly uploaded more than 3,500 posts.

Germany has requested the extradition of the suspect who was arrested in Paraguay.

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian village

JERUSALEM -- Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank overnight, setting brush fires and hurling stones, Palestinian officials and an Israeli rights group said Monday.

It appeared to be a revenge attack after three Israelis were wounded in a drive-by shooting at a nearby traffic junction on Sunday.

The Israeli human-rights group B'Tselem said dozens of settlers attacked the village of Jaloud. It circulated videos showing the fires, with people shouting in the background. Israeli security forces arrested 11 Palestinians and four people were wounded by rubber bullets, B'Tselem said.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, provided a similar account, saying the villagers had come out to defend the village after the settlers attacked.

The Israeli military said Israeli civilians and Palestinians hurled rocks at each other outside the village and that "a number of locations were ignited." It did not provide details on what triggered the violence. It said around 10 people were detained, but did not identify them.

Afghan school bombing hurts 21 people

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A bomb exploded near a school in western Afghanistan on Monday wounding 21 people, many them young students, a provincial official said.

Ambulances rushed to the site and took the wounded to nearby hospitals, said Abdul Jabar Shahiq, head of the health department in Farah province. At least 10 of the wounded were students at the school between the ages of 7 and 13, he said. He added that three of the wounded were in critical condition.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, though Taliban insurgents have a presence in the region.

The bombing came three days after a powerful suicide truck bomb struck a guesthouse in eastern Afghanistan, killing 21 people and wounding 90 others. Most of the casualties in that attack in Lagor province were high school students. No one has claimed responsibility for the late Friday night bombing in Pul-e-Alam, the capital of Logar.

The attack comes two days after the remaining 2,500 to 3,500 American troops officially began leaving the country. They will be out by Sept. 11 at the latest. The pullout comes amid a resurgent Taliban, who control or hold sway over half of Afghanistan.

Niger loses 16 troops in border ambush

NIAMEY, Niger -- An ambush on a military patrol near Niger's border with Mali killed 16 Niger soldiers and left one missing, the government said.

The patrol was returning from a security mission near the border with Mali in Tillia in the northern part of Niger's Tahoua region when it was attacked by a band of men riding motorcycles on Saturday evening, the Ministry of Interior said in a statement late Sunday. Six other soldiers were wounded in the ambush.

Niger's military also intercepted a group of suspected extremists Friday night, killing at least 24 who were preparing to attack Baibangou, a village about 62 miles north of the capital, Niamey, according to a statement from the ministry of defense.

"While in police custody, before being transported to Niamey, the suspected terrorists tried to escape around 4 a.m. and 24 of them were shot dead by the army," the defense ministry said.

Both incidents are being officially investigated.

-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports

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