STRASBOURG, FRANCE

Rampage suspect killed

in shootout with police

The man authorities believe killed three people during a rampage near a Christmas market in Strasbourg died Thursday in a shootout with police at the end of a two-day manhunt, French authorities said.

The Paris prosecutor's office, which handles terror cases in France, formally identified the man killed in the eastern French city as 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt, a Strasbourg-born man with a long history of convictions for various crimes, including robberies. Chekatt also had been on a watch list of potential extremists.

 

MOJAVE, CALIFORNIA

Virgin Galactic launches

rocket ship into space

Virgin Galactic's tourism spaceship climbed more than 50 miles high above California's Mojave Desert on Thursday, reaching for the first time what the company considers the boundary of space.

The rocket ship hit an altitude of 51 miles before beginning its gliding descent, said mission official Enrico Palermo. It landed on a runway minutes later.

Thursday's supersonic flight takes Virgin Galactic closer to turning the long-delayed dream of commercial space tourism into reality.

 

BAMAKO, MALI

Series of attacks kill

at least 42 in camps

Suspected jihadists on motorcycles have killed at least 42 people during a series of attacks on Tuareg nomadic camps in Mali, local leaders said Thursday.

Moussa Ag Acharatoumane, a Tuareg self-defense official, said the attacks took place Tuesday and Wednesday in the sprawling West African nation's eastern Menaka region. The victims, who included children as young as 8, were members of his group known as MSA, which has been fighting militants with ties to the Islamic State group who are active in the region.

This week's violence risks setting off a new cycle of intercommunal clashes in the Menaka region, where 100 civilians have already been killed this year.

 

NEW YORK

Bomb threats cause

fear across country 

A wave of bomb threats emailed Thursday to hundreds of schools, businesses and government buildings across the U.S. triggered searches, evacuations and fear — but there were no signs of explosives, and authorities said the scare appeared to be a crude extortion attempt.

Law enforcement agencies across the country dismissed the threats, saying they were meant to cause disruption and compel recipients into sending money and were not considered credible.

The sender claimed to have had an associate plant a small bomb in the recipient's building and that the only way to stop him from setting it off was by making an online payment of $20,000 in Bitcoin.

 

Beacon Journal/Ohio.com wires