BREAKING: Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has died following gun injuries

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By Gideon Adonai

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has died after he was shot at a political event, AF24news has learnt.

Abe, an arch-conservative and one of his nation’s most divisive figures, died Friday after being shot and critically wounded during a campaign speech Friday in western Japan. He was airlifted to a hospital but officials said he was not breathing and his heart had stopped.

Police arrested the suspected gunman at the scene of an attack that shocked many in Japan, which is one of the world’s safest nations and has some of the strictest gun control laws anywhere.

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Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Abe was in “grave condition” and he hoped Abe would survive. Kishida and his Cabinet ministers hastily returned to Tokyo from campaign events around the country after the shooting, which he called “dastardly and barbaric.”

“I’m praying for former Prime Minister Abe’s survival from the bottom of my heart,” Kishida told reporters at his office.

Abe, who was 67 and was Japan’s longest-serving leader before stepping down in 2020, was in cardio and pulmonary arrest as he was airlifted to the hospital, local fire department official Makoto Morimoto said.

NHK public broadcaster aired dramatic footage of Abe giving a speech outside of a train station in the western city of Nara. He is standing, dressed in a navy blue suit, raising his fist, when a gunshot is heard. Footage then shows Abe collapsed on the street, with security guards running toward him. He holds his chest, his shirt smeared with blood.