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‘Shocking’: Fatal shooting of Japan’s ex-premier stuns world leaders

World leaders on Friday expressed shock after Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was fatally shot at an election campaign event. Abe, 67, was delivering a speech at a political event on a street in the western city of Nara when he was “shot from behind” by a person who has now been arrested, according to local media. The incident, termed "barbaric" and "totally intolerable" by incumbent Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, took place at around 11:30 a.m. local time (0230GMT). The former prime minister was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead at around 5:03 p.m. local time (0803GMT). Abe had a bullet wound to the right of his neck and was suffering from internal bleeding in his chest, according to Kyodo News Agency. Senate elections are due in Japan on Sunday and Abe was campaigning for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) candidates. The assailant has been identified as 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, a resident of the city of Nara who has said that he has “no grudge against Abe’s political beliefs.” Read more: Japan ex-PM Abe assassinated while making election campaign speech Kishida called his Cabinet members to return to the capital Tokyo to decide how to respond to the situation as Japan goes to elections this Sunday to elect half of its senate members. 'Heinous armed attack' Many countries and leaders extended condolences to the family of Abe and the people of Japan, and condemned the attack. Türkiye condemned the “heinous armed attack” on Abe. "We strongly condemn the heinous armed attack today targeting former Prime Minister of Japan Abe Shinzo," a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said. It said that Abe had made "significant contributions to the Turkish-Japanese relations." Ankara conveyed "deepest sympathies to his family as well as to the friendly people and government of Japan." Boris Johnson, the UK’s interim prime minister, said it was "incredibly sad news about Shinzo Abe." "His global leadership through unchartered times will be remembered by many. My thoughts are with his family, friends and the Japanese people. The UK stands with you at this dark and sad time," he said on Twitter. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi offered condolences to the government and people of Japan. “Italy is shocked by the terrible attack, which affects Japan, its free democratic debate. Abe has been a great protagonist of Japanese and international political life in recent decades, thanks to his innovative spirit, his vision of reform. Italy is close to his loved ones, to the Government and to the entire Japanese people." 'Brutal, cowardly murder' EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen condemned the “brutal and cowardly murder of” the former Japanese prime minister. “I mourn with his family, his friends and all the people of Japan,” she said. In his condolence message on Twitter, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “Mr. Abe made an immense contribution to elevating India-Japan relations to the level of a Special Strategic and Global Partnership. Today, whole India mourns with Japan and we stand in solidarity with our Japanese brothers and sisters in this difficult moment.” Modi also announced one-day mourning in India. In a Twitter post, Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti said: “We’re saddened & shocked by the murder of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. PM Abe was an outstanding leader of Japan & wonderful friend to Kosova. The Government of the Republic of Kosova & our people are praying for PM Abe's family, his friends, & the people of Japan.” Earlier, soon after the news of the attack spread, many leaders wished Abe a quick recovery. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is in the Indonesian capital Bali to attend the meeting of G20 foreign ministers, told a news conference: “I do have to say before we meet how deeply saddened and deeply concerned, we are by the news coming from Japan about the attempt on the life of Prime Minister Abe.” “We don’t know his condition, we do know he’s been shot and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family, with the people of Japan. This is a very, very sad moment,” he added. 'Monstrous crime' Zhao Lijian, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Beijing was “shocked by the incident.” “We would like to extend our sympathy to his family,” Zhao said. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the UK “stands with our Japanese friends at this difficult time.” French President Emmanuel Macron said he was “deeply shocked” by the heinous attack on Abe. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, in a statement, said: “We are convinced that those who planned and committed this monstrous crime will bear the due measure of responsibility for this act of terrorism, which cannot be justified,” ministry's spokeswoman said in a statement. “Thoughts to the family and loved ones of a great Prime Minister. France stands alongside the Japanese people,” he added. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said: “Shocking news from Japan that former PM Shinzo Abe has been shot – our thoughts are with his family and the people of Japan at this time.” Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, also expressed “deep shock” over the attack on Abe. “We send our prayers and best wishes for his early recovery and good health. Our thoughts are with him, his family, and the people of Japan,” he said.

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