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The father committed suicide after shooting his two daughters

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A Texas father fatally shot his two teenage daughters before turning the gun on himself in an apparent double murder-suicide, authorities have said.

Officers from the Mesquite Police Department responded to a home in the 1300 block of Bradford Place at around 10:25pm on Tuesday night to reports of gunshots heard.

When police arrived at the residence, they found 63-year-old Raymond Haydel lying on the floor inside the home, with a gunshot wound to his head.

As they continued their search of the property, they found the bodies of Natasha Haydel, 17, and her younger sister Alexa, 16, who both had suffered multiple gunshot wounds. They were dead at the scene, police said.

Investigators believe Haydel shot both of his children, and then committed suicide. Detectives are still working to establish a motive for the double murder-suicide.

Police say it appears Haydel and the girls’ mother, Michelle Chapman, 42, were no longer together. Natasha and Alexa lived permanently with Chapman in Forney and had been visiting their father in Mesquite when the fatal incident occurred.

Legal documents observed  show that Haydel and Chapman filed for divorce in 2012. Chapman remarried three-years later.

Wes Hardin, who is the father of one of the girls’ boyfriends, voiced his shock that Haydel was capable of committing such a cruel act of violence against his own daughters.

‘We know what we need to know and sometimes things happen that you don’t want to put a reason on,’ Harden told. ‘Of course we are angry but we know the girls would want us to celebrate their life… the outpouring of support from the kids is amazing.’

Darion and Lindsay Daily, who live two doors down from the scene of the shooting, told how they watched through the night as investigators processed the crime scene.

‘It was blocked off, and they had it taped all off so we really couldn’t see nothing,’ Darion said.

‘It was shocking to hear what transpired,’ added Lindsay.

Darion said he spoke to the first officer on the scene: ‘He was like, “I’m the one that had to kick the door in and see that.” And it was too late,’ Darion recalled.

Natasha had just graduated from Forney High School just 10 days before the fatal shooting occurred. Alexa was a sophomore at the school, and both of the girls played in the school’s band.

The Forney Independent School District released a statement Wednesday, mourning the sisters’ deaths.

‘Yesterday, we learned of the tragic loss of two of our Forney High School students, and our hearts are broken,’ the statement said. ‘We extend condolences to Natasha and Alexa Haydel’s family and to our Forney Family.’

Forney High School is also offering online visits with grief counselors to classmates of the two girls.

Tributes to the two girls have flooded onto social media, remembering them both as ‘Bright, beautiful and talented’.

‘I am truly heartbroken by this loss,’ Sheri Jones wrote on Facebook. ‘Natasha was one of the student aides that I got to work with…Her creative nature inspired many story times. And her ideas brighten the days of so many little ones. The world lost two beautiful souls.’

Riley Warren, the percussion director at Forney High School, wrote: ‘Please keep the mother of these girls in your prayers as the Forney community heals from the tragic loss of two incredibly bright and talented young people. I’m at a loss for words…’

A GoFundMe set up by the Hardin family to help cover funeral costs for the two girls had reached $24,430 in donations towards its $25,000 goal as of Thursday evening.

‘Natasha is and always will be my best friend,’ Gwen Keem commented in one donation. ‘She was loved by me and my whole family. I was with her the morning before and I’m forever heartbroken.’

‘Natasha and Alexa Haydel were taken from this world too soon,’ added Shannon Hardin, who organized the fundraiser.

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Netanyahu Met Saudi Prince on Secret Trip, Israeli Media Say

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Jerusalem: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held secret talks in Saudi Arabia Sunday with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, media said, in the first reported trip by an Israeli premier to the kingdom.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in Israel last week, was also at the reported talks, a diplomatic correspondent at Israeli public broadcaster Kan said on Monday.

The broadcaster cited unnamed Israeli officials as saying that Netanyahu and the head of the Mossad spy agency Yossi Cohen “flew yesterday to Saudi Arabia, and met Pompeo and MBS in the city of Neom”, referring to Prince Mohammed’s initials.

Multiple other Israeli media outlets reported similar information on Monday morning.

Netanyahu’s office was not immediately available to comment on the reports.

The meeting comes after Israel agreed historic deals to normalise ties with two Saudi allies in the Gulf, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Those accords were brokered by outgoing US President Donald Trump’s administration.

US and Israeli officials have repeatedly indicated that more Arab states were set to forge ties with Israel.

Publicly, Saudi Arabia has said it would stick to the decades-old Arab League position of not having ties with Israel until the Jewish state’s conflict with the Palestinians is resolved.

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Joe Biden appoints Indian-American Mala Adiga as policy director of incoming First Lady

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Washington: US President-elect Joe Biden has appointed Indian-American Mala Adiga as the policy director of his wife Jill, choosing an experienced education policy hand as the incoming First Lady focuses on education and plans to continue teaching community college classes.

Adiga was a senior adviser to Jill and senior policy adviser for Biden’s 2020 campaign. She previously worked for the Biden Foundation as director for higher education and military families.

Before that, during Obama’s administration, she was deputy assistant secretary of state for academic programmes at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and worked in the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues as chief of staff and senior adviser to the ambassador-at-large.

“Future First Lady Jill Biden’s Policy Director will be Mala Adiga, who served as her senior advisor and a senior policy advisor on the Biden-Harris campaign. Adiga will work for a First Lady who has said she intends to prioritise education and military families,”

Biden on Friday announced another round of White House staff positions to be filled by longtime aides to the Bidens.

Louisa Terrell, who served as Executive Director for the Biden Foundation, will become Director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. She comes to the position with an experience that includes acting as the Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs in the Obama-Biden administration, the report said.

Carlos Elizondo, who was social secretary for Jill Biden during the Obama administration, will be White House Social Secretary. Ambassador Cathy Russell will assume the role of Director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, it said.

Adiga served as Director for Human Rights in the National Security Staff’s (NSS) Multilateral and Human Rights Directorate. Prior to joining NSS, she was an attorney at the Department of Justice, where she served as Counsel to the Associate Attorney General.

Before entering government service, Adiga volunteered and then worked for the Obama presidential campaign for nearly two years, according to her biography on the US State Department website.

She earned her JD from the University of Chicago Law School and her MPH from the University of Minnesota. She graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa with a B A in Spanish.

The new announcements come just days after Biden revealed his first round of top White House staff, including the appointment of his campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, to serve as deputy chief of staff, and campaign co-chair Cedric Richmond as director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Late week, he announced that his aide Ron Klain will serve as his chief of staff.

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