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1 killed, 2 injured when U.S. Army helicopter crashes on golf course

One crew member died and two were injured when a U.S. Army helicopter crashed Monday afternoon in Maryland, officials said.

>> Read more trending news

The UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter had three crew members on board when it “had a hard landing” at about 1:40 p.m., according to Fort Belvoir officials. It was from the 12th Aviation Battalion and stationed at the Army’s Fort Belvoir installation in Virginia.

North Korea missile test: What is the DMZ?

Vice President Mike Pence toured the Korean Demilitarized Zone on Monday, warning leaders in North Korea that "the era of strategic patience is over.”

Pence arrived at Camp Bonifas, a military base near the zone, on Monday morning, and was taken to see the DMZ after a briefing with military leaders. He is expected to meet with American troops later in the day. His stop in South Korea is the first on a 10-day tour of Asia.

Pence toured the area said to be the most militarized border on earth. He was seen being photographed by North Korean troops stationed on the other side of the DMZ.

What is the Demilitarized Zone and why is it there? Here’s a quick look at its history.

What is the Korean Demilitarized Zone?

The Demilitarized Zone or DMZ serves as a border between North Korea and South Korea. There is an enormous military presence on each side of the zone.

When was it created?

The zone was born out of an agreement between North Korea, China and the United Nations at the end of the Korean War in 1953.

How big is it?

The Korean DMZ is 160 miles long and 2½ miles wide.

Where is it? 

The zone crosses the Korean peninsula, intersecting the 38th parallel north. The 38th parallel was the border between North and South Korea before the Korean War in the 1950s. The DMZ incorporates 1.2 miles of land on either side of what was the cease-fire line at the end of the war.

Does anyone ever go into it? 

There is a meeting point in the zone called the Joint Security Area. It is near the western end of the DMZ where the village of Panmunjom once stood. If negotiations over some conflict are needed, that is the place where representatives of both sides can meet.

During the last 60 years, there have also been a series of tunnels dug under the zone by North Korea. The tunnels are believed to have been built as an invasion route for North Korean forces.

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North Korea test launch fails just after regime shows off new missiles

News outlets showed images Saturday of North Korea’s annual celebration of its founder, Kim Il Sung, and the exhibition of a long line of missiles through the streets of Pyongyang.

These, when placed alongside comments made by top official Choe Ryong Hae about the United States asking for “nuclear justice,” were a clear attempt by North Korea to display its military might.

>> Read more trending news

Hours later, this appears to have blown up in North Korea’s face.

According to ABC News, a Defense Department official said a ballistic missile launch “blew up almost immediately.”

“U.S. Pacific Command detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch at 11:21 a.m. Hawaii time April 15. The launch of the ballistic missile occurred near Sinpo,” U.S. Pacific Command spokesman Cmdr. David Benham said.

>> Some fast facts about North Korea

Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that President Donald Trump has been briefed on the failed launch and has no comment at this time.

“The president and his military team are aware of North Korea’s most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment,” he said.

The kind of missile that was launched is still being determined, though earlier in the day it was speculated that North Korea had developed and was showing off its version of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Afghan official: MOAB death total rises to 94 

An Afghan official said Saturday that the death toll in the wake of the most powerful non-nuclear bomb dropped by the U.S. military has risen to at least 94, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news 

"The number of Daesh fighters killed in the U.S. bomb in Achin district jumped to 94, including four commanders," Nangarhar provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogiani told CNN.

"Our team is in the area and they are doing clearance, so the figure might change as they find more bodies," Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, told CNN.

>> Defense Department releases MOAB footage

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), nicknamed the "mother of all bombs,” was dropped at 7:32 p.m. local time Thursday, CNN reported.

The initial toll given by Afghan officials for Thursday's strike was 36. A statement released Friday through ISIS' media wing, Amaq News Agency, said none of the terror group's fighters were killed or injured.

The strike targeted a network of underground tunnels that ISIS had been using to stage attacks in Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan.

The bomb destroyed three underground tunnels, weapons and ammunition, but no civilians were hurt, CNN reported, citing U.S. and Afghan officials.

 

Christie commutes sentence of Marine convicted of gun charge

A Marine sergeant facing a three-year mandatory prison term on a gun charge had his sentence commuted Friday by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, WABC reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Sgt. Hisashi Pompey's conviction will stand, but the penalty is gone. Additionally, a full pardon remains under review, WABC reported.“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, this isn't April Fools, right?” Pompey told WABC. "I don't know how to react. I'm grateful, grateful.”

He was due to report to prison on Monday.

Six years ago during a visit to New Jersey, Pompey was at a Fort Lee nightclub when his friend got involved in a fight and grabbed Pompey's gun out of his holster and carried it into a confrontation with police.No shots were fired. The friend was arrested but so was Pompey. While his gun was legally registered in Virginia, he had no New Jersey permit. Police charged him with unlawful possession of a handgun, WABC reported.

To fight gang violence, New Jersey lawmakers tacked on mandatory sentences for gun-related offenses several years ago, WABC reported.

It did not matter that Pompey had served three tours of duty as a military police sergeant in Iraq and Afghanistan: the law prescribed a mandatory sentence until Christie commuted Pompey’s jail time. Christie has the option of issuing a full pardon and expunging the crime from his record, WUSA reported.

"I'm not a troublemaker. I don't cause trouble. I don't do anything bad, it was just a common mistake that I made," Pompey told WABC.

Afghan official: 36 ISIS fighters killed by ‘MOAB’

The massive bomb dropped by U.S. forces on an ISIS tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan killed 36 militants, according to the Afghan Ministry of Defense.

>> Read more trending news

The GBU-43B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, also known as MOAB and dubbed the “mother of all bombs,” destroyed three underground tunnels but did not hurt any civilians, CNN reported. The 30-foot-long, 21,600-pound bomb is the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the U.S. military arsenal, capable of destroying an area equal to nine city blocks. It was dropped in the Nangarhar province near the Pakistan border, CNN reported, adding that it was the first time the bomb had been used in conflict.

>> Read: What is the ‘mother of all bombs, and what does it do?

A local resident living within two miles of the explosion told CNN that he heard an "extremely loud boom that smashed the windows of our house."

"We were all scared and my children and my wife were crying. We thought it had happened right in front of our house," he said.

President Donald Trump said Thursday the bombing was "another successful job." It is the third major military action his administration has taken in recent months, following a military raid in Yemen that killed civilians and a U.S. Marine, and last week's surprise strike on a Syrian airfield, CNN reported.

>> Watch: 5 things to know about the MOAB

On Twitter, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani approved of the strike, saying it was "designed to support the efforts of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and US forces ... conducting clearance operations in the region."

"Precautions were taken to avoid civilian casualties with this air strike," Ghani said.

When asked about Thursday’s use of the most powerful non-nuclear bomb, President Trump did not say whether he gave the approval, CNN reported.

“Everybody knows exactly what happens. So, what I do is I authorize our military,” Trump said.

“We have given them total authorization and that’s what they’re doing.”

Hakim Khan, 50, a resident of Achin district where the attack took place, welcomed the attack on ISIS. 

“I want 100 times more bombings on this group," he told The Associated Press.

 

U.S. drops ‘MOAB’ bomb on Afghanistan

U.S. forces in Afghanistan have dropped a GBU-43B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, or MOAB, on an ISIS tunnel complex in the Nangarhar province in Afghanistan,the U.S. Central Command confirmed and CNN first reported.

>> Read more trending news

The bomb, which was first used in combat in Thursday’s bombing, was dropped from an MC-130 flown by Air Force Special Operations Command, military sources told CNN.. 

The bomb weighs more than 21,000 pounds, CNN reported.

CENTCOM said U.S. military forces “took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties” and will continue offensive operations until ISIS is defeated. 

>>Read: What is the ‘mother of all bombs,' and what does it do?

A U.S. special forces soldier was killed Saturday in the area. Staff Sgt. Mark DeAlencar was with his unit when it came under fire in Nangarhar Province, Army Times reported.

There is no direct connection between DeAlencar’s death and Thursday’s attack, CNN reported.

Earlier this year President Donald Trump gave more authority to U.S. military commanders to order air and ground attacks, The Washington Examiner reported

When asked about Thursday’s use of the most powerful non-nuclear bomb, President Trump did not say whether he gave the approval, CNN reported.

“Everybody knows exactly what happens. So, what I do is I authorize our military,” Trump said.

“We have given them total authorization and that’s what they’re doing.”

CNN reported that Gen. John Nicholson is the person who gave the okay to use the MOAB. The administration was told before the bomb was released.

Sunday marks 75th anniversary of Bataan surrender

Survivors of the Bataan Death march are marking a milestone anniversary this weekend.

>> Read more trending news

Sunday is the 75th anniversary of the U.S. surrender of the Bataan peninsula in the Philippines during World War II, which led to the infamous six-day, 65-mile march.

“When we heard the word, ‘surrender,’ a lot of us were crying. I was crying,” 96-year-old Atilano Bernardo David told KRQE.

With no food or water, U.S. and Filipino soldiers were forced to march to prison camps.

“I was already like lethargic, almost hallucinating because I was hungry. I was tired. I was thirsty,” said David, who had been fighting with the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East. “When the death march started, we found out we should not have surrendered because the Japanese brutality, brutality against humanity, you cannot imagine because they were bayoneting and beheading at will.”

David credits others for his survival of the Bataan Death March.

“My buddies decided that I was too weak to last,” he told KRQE. “That I was really going to die on the way.”

So, he said, they pushed him into a nearby ditch to hide. He said people living in the area had dug roadside ditches for that purpose of helping prisoners escape.

“They pushed me into the gap, and I fell down and sort of lost consciousness,” David told KRQE.

He estimates he had marched for about 20 miles at that point.

Someone took David into their home for three days, nursing him back to health before he said he joined a guerrilla unit until the war’s end.

“There are still ghosts roaming the road to the concentration camp,” David told KRQE.

U.S. strike on Syria: What we know now 

On Thursday, the United States attacked a government-controlled air base in Syria, responding to a chemical weapons attack that U.S. officials blamed on Syria President Bashar al-Assad. Six people were killed in the airstrike, according to a televised statement by the Syrian's Armed Forces General Command. Talal Barazi, the governor of Homs province, told The Associated Press that seven others were wounded.

>> US fires more than 50 cruise missiles into Syria

>> Read more trending news

A Syrian opposition monitor said the attack killed four soldiers, including a general. The head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than a dozen hangars, a fuel depot and an air defense base were damaged.

The strike took place at 8:40 p.m. ET (3:40 a.m. local time), CNN reported. It targeted aircraft, aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and "the things that make the airfield operate," Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters. The missiles were launched from warships in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Russia reacts: The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that the U.S. strike is an "aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law.” Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in Friday's statement carried by Russian news agencies that Putin believes that the U.S. has dealt the strikes under "far-fetched pretext.” Earlier, Konstantin Kosachev, the head of Russia’s foreign affairs committee in the Kremlin-controlled upper house of parliament, said on his Facebook page that a U.S.-Russian anti-terror coalition has been “put to rest without even being born.” 

Trump addresses nation: President Donald Trump said that “it is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. The president said that Assad’s attack on Tuesday “choked out the lives of innocent men, women and children,” causing them to suffer “a slow and brutal death.” “Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in ending the bloodshed in Syria,” Trump said. Read the full transcript of Trump’s speech here.

>> Read: Full transcript of Trump’s speech on US Syria strike

Syria protests action: Syria criticized the attack, calling it an “aggression” that led to “losses.” Rebel forces welcomed the U.S. attack. The Syrian Coalition said it puts an end to an age of "impunity" and should be just the beginning.

Saudis, Israelis laud move: Saudi Arabia called Trump’s move a “courageous decision.” The state-run Saudi Press said Friday blamed Assad’s government for the attack, saying that the missile launch was the right response to “the crimes of this regime to its people in light of the failure of the international community to stop it.” Danny Danon, Israel's ambassador to the U.N., said the U.S. sent a "significant message" to the region and beyond. He called it “a moral decision that delivered a triple message.”

British support: The British government said it “fully supports” the U.S. action, a Downing Street spokesman told Reuters.

French disconnection: French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen says Trump is trying to be the "world's policeman" and is suggesting that it could backfire.  Le Pen has expressed support for Assad in the past, and said on France-2 television Friday that she was "surprised" by Trump's sudden move. Le Pen said that Trump indicated he would not make the U.S. "the world's policeman, and that's exactly what he did yesterday." She warned that past international interventions in Iraq and Libya have led to rising Islamic extremism.

Asian stock market reaction: The price of bonds, the yen and gold rose in Asia on Friday and stocks slipped in the wake of the attack, Reuters reported. The American dollar dropped as much as 0.6 percent, while gold and oil prices rallied. Any early panic was quelled later in the day after a U.S. official called the attack a “one-off,” with no plans for escalation. 

Why they are fighting in Syria: For the past six years, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has fought rebel forces determined to take down his regime. The fighting, which began in March 2011 in Deraa, moved to the Aleppo area in 2012.

Some Trump supporters dismayed by attack on Syria

Some of President Donald Trump’s most fervent campaign supporters were dismayed Thursday after he ordered a missile strike against Syria, the New York Times reported. The supporters, mostly conservatives, charged that the president had broken his promise to keep the United States out of another Middle East conflict.

>> Read more trending news 

Prominent writers and bloggers on the far right attacked Trump, accusing him of turning against his voters by waging an attack that he previously said would be a terrible idea. They also criticized him for launching the strike without first seeking congressional approval — something he said on Twitter in 2013 would be a “big mistake.”

Paul Joseph Watson, an editor at Infowars, said on Twitter that Trump “was just another deep state/neocon puppet.” He added in his tweet, “I’m officially OFF the Trump train.”

Richard Spencer, who coined the term “alt-right,” said he condemned the attack and hinted at supporting another presidential candidate in 2020: Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a Democrat. Gabbard met with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria in January and on Thursday criticized the missile strike as shortsighted and reckless, the Times reported.

Others, however, praised the president for his quick military decision, which came three days after the Syrian government’s deadly chemical weapons attack on its own people, including children.

Laura Ingraham, a conservative commentator, tweeted that the strike united three critics of the president — Republican senators Marco Rubio of Florida and John McCain of Arizona, as well as his Democratic opponent last fall, Hillary Clinton.

A few hours before the missile strike, the far-right blogger Mike Cernovich warned his followers in a live video that the United States was going to attack Syria. “Remind Trump who supported him,” he told his viewers. “We got to stop him.”

Overseas, French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen accused Trump of trying to be the "world's policeman" and suggested that it could backfire, The Associated Press reported. Le Pen has expressed support for Assad in the past, and said on France-2 television Friday that she was "surprised" by Trump's sudden move.

Le Pen said that Trump indicated he would not make the U.S. "the world's policeman, and that's exactly what he did yesterday.”

Writing on Twitter, web developer Evan Rose wrote that “on the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI, we celebrate by kicking off WWIII. Congrats all!” While World War I began in 1914, Rose was referring to the centennial of American involvement in the war.

Watch next: What is sarin gas?
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