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Two properties owned by Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs have been searched by federal agents as part of an ongoing sex trafficking investigation, according to reports.

Combs’ homes in Los Angeles and Miami were searched by officers on Monday.

The searches were connected to a sex trafficking investigation by federal authorities in New York, the AP news agency reported.

Sean 'Diddy' Combs. Pic: AP
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Pic: AP

In a statement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) said it “executed law enforcement actions as part of an ongoing investigation, with assistance from HSI Los Angeles, HSI Miami, and our local law enforcement partners.”

Sky’s US partner network NBC News understands that several phones were seized from Combs in Miami before he was scheduled to depart on a trip to the Bahamas.

According to NBC News, three women and a man have been interviewed by federal officials in Manhattan in relation to the sex-trafficking investigation and further allegations of sexual assault, solicitation and distribution of illegal narcotics and firearms.

Representatives for Combs did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

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The American music mogul, 54, has been the subject of several lawsuits, including for sexual assault, in recent months.

In February, a music producer filed a lawsuit alleging Combs coerced him to solicit prostitutes and pressured him to have sex with them.

Combs’ attorney said that for those allegations, “we have overwhelming, indisputable proof that his claims are complete lies”.

The rapper’s former protege and girlfriend, R&B singer Cassie, sued him in November alleging she was trafficked, raped, plied with drugs and beaten by Combs over a 10-year period.

The lawsuit said he forced her to have sex with male prostitutes while he filmed them. The suit was settled the day after it was filed.

Sean Comb's home raided by federal law enforcement.
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Pic: AP

Sean Comb's home raided by federal law enforcement.
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Pic: AP

Also in November, Combs was sued by Joie Dickerson-Neal who claimed he drugged and sexually assaulted her when she was a psychology student at Syracuse University in January 1991 and filmed the attack.

But rejecting the claims as “made up and not credible”, a spokesperson for the star branded them “purely a money grab and nothing more”.

Another of Combs’ accusers is a woman who claims he “gang raped” her two decades ago after she was plied with drugs and alcohol when she was 17 years old.

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Combs has denied all the allegations.

In a statement in December, he described the claims as “sickening” and said his accusers were “looking for a quick payday”.

“Let me be absolutely clear: I did not do any of the awful things being alleged. I will fight for my name, my family and for the truth,” he said.

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Combs is among the most influential hip hop producers and executives of the past three decades.

Also known as Puff Daddy and P Diddy, he built one of hip-hop’s biggest empires, blazing a trail with several entities attached to his name.

He is the founder of Bad Boy Records and a three-time Grammy winner who has worked with several top-tier artists including Notorious BIG, Mary J Blige, Usher, Lil Kim, Faith Evans and 112.

His latest album, The Love Album – Off the Grid, was released last year days after Combs was honoured at the MTV VMAs. It was nominated for best progressive R&B album at Febuary’s Grammy Awards, which he did not attend.

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World must face Iran’s ‘evil empire’, Israeli president says

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World must face Iran's 'evil empire', Israeli president says

It is “about time” the world faced the “empire of evil in Tehran”, Israel’s president has told Sky News.

World leaders also need to “make it clear” to the Iranian regime that its behaviour is “unacceptable”, Isaac Herzog added.

He described Iran’s launch of more than 300 drones and missiles towards Israel on Saturday as “just another example of how they have operated for years and years”.

Follow live updates after Iran’s attack on Israel

Tehran has been “spreading havoc, terror and instability all over the world, and especially in our region”, he said.

Iran has proxies all over the Middle East and terror cells all around the world, Mr Herzog went on.

“We were attacked last night from four corners of the Middle East with proxies shooting at us, firing missiles and ballistic missiles, drones and cruise missiles,” he said.

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“This is like a real war. I mean, this is a declaration of war,” he said, before adding that Israel would exercise restraint.

Asked by Sky’s Middle East correspondent, Alistair Bunkall, whether he agreed with the comments of Western allies who are calling for calm, Mr Herzog said: “The last thing that Israel is seeking in this region since its creation is to go to war – we are seeking peace.”

Rishi Sunak confirmed the RAF shot down “a number” of Iranian attack drones.

The UK prime minister said “additional planes” were sent to the region as part of operations already under way in Iraq and Syria.

Had Iran’s attack on Israel been successful, the “fallout for regional stability would be hard to overstate”, Mr Sunak added.

“This was a dangerous and unnecessary escalation which I have condemned in the strongest terms,” he said.

US planes reportedly downed Iranian drones over northern Syria too.

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Will Israel respond to Iran’s attacks?

Meanwhile, the Israel Defence Forces is “poised and prepared for further aggression”, IDF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told Sky News.

He also called the defence of Israel a “unity of reasonable players against the diabolical plan of Iran”.

Asked if Israel would respond, he said: “It’s a very good question. We are looking towards the government today, the government will convene later today and they will make their decisions and instruct the military accordingly.”

Iran‘s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has said it was responding to an “attack on the consular section of the Iranian embassy in Damascus” on 1 April.

Two generals and seven members of the IRGC were killed in the strike, which Tehran blamed on Israel. Israel has not publicly commented.

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Joe Biden reaffirms US ‘ironclad’ support of Israel after Iran missile and drone attacks

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Joe Biden reaffirms US 'ironclad' support of Israel after Iran missile and drone attacks

Joe Biden has reaffirmed the US’s “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s security after Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles in an “unprecedented” attack.

With additional launches in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, over 300 drones and missiles, including 120 ballistic missiles and 30 cruise missiles, were fired at Israel.

RAF planes were involved in the defence of Israel on Saturday evening in a support capacity, Sky News understands, while US planes reportedly downed Iranian drones over northern Syria.

Follow live updates of Iran’s attack on Israel

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency war cabinet to discuss the situation late on Saturday night, while, in Washington, US President Joe Biden also held an emergency meeting with top security officials.

Benjamin Netanyahu with his war cabinet on Saturday. Pic: Israeli PM's office
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Benjamin Netanyahu with his war cabinet on Saturday. Pic: Israeli PM’s office

In a statement following the meeting, Mr Biden reaffirmed the US’s “ironclad” commitment to “Israel’s security against threats from Iran and its proxies”.

Across Israel, the military sounded sirens in multiple locations in southern areas last night as well as in parts of the occupied West Bank, an alert app showed.

A matter of hours after the attack from Iran, Lebanon fired rockets into northern Israel – who responded with their own launches.

Sky News international correspondent Alex Rossi, in Jerusalem, said he had heard “explosions” and seen “what look like air defence interception systems”.

Objects are seen in the sky above Jerusalem after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel in Jerusalem
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Objects are seen in the sky above Jerusalem after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel in Jerusalem

Interceptor missiles are launched into the sky in Jerusalem
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Interceptor missiles are launched into the sky in Jerusalem

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said it was responding to an “attack on the consular section of the Iranian embassy in Damascus” on 1 April.

Two generals and seven members of the IRGC were killed in the strike, which Tehran blamed on Israel. Israel has not publicly commented.

However, early on Sunday morning, a senior Israeli source told Channel 12 TV that the country was planning a “significant response” to the Iranian drone salvo.

Iran’s foreign ministry said Tehran would “not hesitate” to take “further defensive measures” to “safeguard its legitimate interests against any military aggressions”.

The response will be “much larger than last night’s if Israel retaliates against Iran”, the chief of staff of its armed forces Major General Mohammad Bagheri told state TV. IRG commander Hossein Salami added that Tehran will retaliate against any attack on its “interests, officials or citizens”.

Emergency services work at a destroyed building hit by an air strike in Damascus, Syria, Monday, April 1, 2024. An Israeli airstrike has destroyed the consular section of Iran's embassy in Damascus, killing or wounding everyone inside, Syrian state media said Monday. (AP Photo/Omar Sanadiki)
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An airstrike destroyed the consular section of Iran’s embassy in Damascus, killing or wounding a number of Iranian commanders earlier this month. Pic: AP

Ten-year-old “severely injured” by shrapnel

Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesman Daniel Hagari told a news conference “99%” of the projectiles were intercepted.

Mr Hagari said: “Regretfully, a 10-year-old was severely injured from shrapnel. We send them our wishes of quick recovery.

“Except for them, as far as we know, there have not been any other casualties and yet this event is not over.”

He added: “Iran pushed the Middle East towards escalation. We will do whatever is necessary in order to defend Israel.”

Air sirens sound in Israel

As the IDF announced the Iranian attack had begun, as did the White House, this weekend, it advised people in the Golan Heights, Nevatim, Dimona and Eilat to take shelter.

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Sky’s Alex Rossi reports live from Jerusalem

More than 300 drones and missiles were launched by Tehran, along with 30 cruise missiles – 25 of which were intercepted outside Israel’s borders, according to the IDF.

They said Israeli forces had “successfully intercepted” the majority of the launches with its air defence system – as well as with help from its strategic allies – before they reached Israel.

Mr Hagari said the Nevatim Air Force base had been targeted and struck, suffering “slight damage to infrastructure alone” but it continued to function.

In this image released by the White House, President Joe Biden, third from right, meets with members of the National Security team regarding the unfolding missile attacks on Israel from Iran, Saturday, April 13, 2024, in the Situation Room of the White House in Washington. (Adam Schultz/The White House via AP)
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US President Joe Biden meets with members of the National Security team. Pic: White House via AP

Mr Hagari also said 120 ballistic missiles were launched at Israel, but only a few managed to cross the border.

Drones were seen flying from Iran, through Iraqi airspace and in the direction of Israel, two Iraqi security sources told Reuters.

The drones are carrying 20kg of explosives each, Amos Yadlin, a retired general in the Israeli air force, told Channel 12 TV.

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Iraq and Jordan close airspace

An ‘unprecedented’ attack

Mr Biden labelled the attack by Iran and its “proxies operating out of Yemen, Syria and Iraq”, as “unprecedented”.

He condemned it in the strongest possible terms and said that the US military had moved aircrafts and ballistic missile defence destroyers to the region over the course of the past week.

He also spoke to Mr Netanyahu and reaffirmed his “ironclad” support for Israel and said he was going to convene his fellow G7 leaders in response to “Iran’s brazen attack”.

‘Attack further undermines regional security’

US, British and French planes assisted in the Israeli response to the attack.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement that additional RAF jets and air refuelling tankers had also been deployed to the region to “bolster” Operation Shader – the UK’s existing counter-IS operation in Iraq and Syria.

“In addition, the jets will intercept airborne attacks within range of our existing missions,” he said.

“I strongly condemn the senseless airborne attack that Iran has launched on Israel. It serves no benefit other than to further undermine regional security.”

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Jets from Jordan are also thought to have shot down Iranian drones flying across their airspace towards Israel, security sources have told the news agency Reuters – despite Tehran issuing an earlier warning to the country not to interfere with their strikes.

Israeli aviation authorities closed the country’s airspace to all flights – but it was reopened again several hours after the attacks.

Wing of Zion – Israel’s version of Air Force One – is airborne because of “operational considerations” and Mr Hagari added that the situation was “still unfolding”, and Israel continued to monitor its borders.

‘Reckless attack’

Earlier, Israel called off school trips and other youth activities planned for the coming days.

Jordan temporarily closed its airspace, state media reported, as did Iraq. Both have now reopened.

Egypt said its air defences were on alert.

Eithad airways has cancelled its services today to Tel Aviv in Israel and Amman in Jordan.

Read more:
Direct attack against Israel by Iran is unprecedented
Iran attack on Israel: Everything we know so far

Israel’s PM vows Rafah invasion will go ahead

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Explosions light up the sky above Jerusalem

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he condemned “in the strongest terms the Iranian regime’s reckless attack against Israel”.

He added: “Iran has once again demonstrated that it is intent on sowing chaos in its own backyard.

“The UK will continue to stand up for Israel’s security and that of all our regional partners, including Jordan and Iraq.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “We condemn the Iranian regime’s decision to subject Israelis to these unacceptable attacks.

“The international community has been united in urging restraint, and we regret that, yet again, Iran has chosen a different, dangerous path.”

Saudi Arabia also called on all parties to exercise the “utmost levels” of restraint and to spare the region and its people the dangers of war, while UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres also urged “maximum restraint”.

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All-out war, or not, in the Middle East? Biden’s test at the most dangerous moment

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All-out war, or not, in the Middle East? Biden's test at the most dangerous moment

“What next?” It’s a question anxiously asked too many times in the past six months.

And no doubt the question formed the crux of the late-night call between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Follow live: Iran launches attack on Israel

Iran’s spectacular drone and missile assault on Israel is truly unprecedented.

A region already reeling from the Hamas attacks and the Israeli retaliation on Gaza is being rocked again.

American leadership and leverage, tested repeatedly, is undergoing a bigger strain still.

This time though the consequence of President Biden’s test is all-out war, or not, in the Middle East. It is the scenario most feared since 7 October.

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Without question, this moment – right now – is the most dangerous yet, by a long way.

A direct attack by Iran, from Iranian soil, against Israel is a red line crossed in Tel Aviv.

Image:
The aftermath of the airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on 1 April. Pic: Reuters

Iran’s trigger was another unprecedented moment and another red line crossed, on 1 April, when a missile landed on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria killing 16 people. The Israeli trigger for that? Iran’s malign regional behaviour, as they would see it.

Tit, tat, tit, tat. You can see how this spirals. It explains the grim faces of the US president and his officials in the White House situation room overnight.

Even though so many of the drones and missiles were intercepted and despite no mass casualty scenario, Israelis will feel profoundly vulnerable, and the Israeli government may feel compelled to retaliate.

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Explosions light up sky above Jerusalem

Impressions and the re-establishment of deterrence count for a lot in the Middle East.

That is precisely why Iran hit back after the Damascus consulate attack. It’s also why Israel may be unable to ignore Tehran’s weekend wave of drones and missiles. Never in its history has Israel faced an aerial assault like this.

Read more:
Netanyahu convenes Israeli war cabinet as Iran attacks

Direct attack against Israel by Iran is unprecedented
Iran attack on Israel: Everything we know so far

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And of course, in the White House they know all this all too well. But we all know too that the US-Israeli relationship has been severely strained by Gaza.

President Biden’s test now is to balance the action and reaction of a nation facing a moment that will feel, internally, to be existential with the consequences of an all-out regional war.

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Why has Iran launched drones?

Significant Jewish settler violence in the West Bank, Hezbollah attacks from southern Lebanon and the continued disaster in Gaza all risk compounding the chaos.

Iran’s actions were more than anyone had expected. An unprecedented and enormously risky attack on Israel. It was an extreme attempt to re-establish deterrence. That works both ways.

Just six months ago, days before 7 October, President Biden’s national security advisor Jake Sullivan wrote “the region is quieter than it has been for decades… We have de-escalated crises in Gaza & restored direct diplomacy…”

He was spectacularly misguided.

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