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Three more held over drive-by shooting of law student

Aya Hachem was hit by one of several shots fired from a vehicle as she walked to a supermarket near her home in Blackburn, Lancashire, on Sunday.

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Police at the scene in King Street, Blackburn, after a woman was shot dead (Peter Byrne/PA)

Police at the scene in King Street, Blackburn, after a woman was shot dead (Peter Byrne/PA)

Police at the scene in King Street, Blackburn, after a woman was shot dead (Peter Byrne/PA)

Murder squad detectives have arrested three more people after a teenage law student was killed in a drive-by shooting.

Innocent passer-by Aya Hachem, 19, was hit by one of several shots fired from a vehicle as she walked to a supermarket near her home in Blackburn, Lancashire, on Sunday.

She died from a single wound to the chest.

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Aya Hachem was shot dead in the street in Blackburn (Lancashire Police/PA)

Aya Hachem was shot dead in the street in Blackburn (Lancashire Police/PA)

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Aya Hachem was shot dead in the street in Blackburn (Lancashire Police/PA)

Three men, aged 33, 36 and 39, continue to be questioned on suspicion of her murder after their arrests on Monday.

On Wednesday morning, Lancashire Police said they had made three more arrests.

Two men, aged 31 and 35, were arrested on suspicion of murder and a 29-year-old man was held on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Police believe Miss Hachem was not the intended target of the attack, which took place in broad daylight on a busy main road near a Lidl supermarket in the town centre.

The Lebanese-born teenager, a second year student at the University of Salford, died in hospital a short time after emergency services were called to the scene in King Street at around 3pm.

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Forensics officers at the scene in King Street (Peter Byrne/PA)

Forensics officers at the scene in King Street (Peter Byrne/PA)

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Forensics officers at the scene in King Street (Peter Byrne/PA)

Her former headteacher at Blackburn Central High School, Diane Atkinson, told the BBC: “She fled a war-torn zone as a refugee and came to the UK looking for a better life.

“She arrived with very little English and was soon inducted with BCHS, as we call ourselves, the family, and Blackburn.

“And she was a very, very intelligent young lady who very, very quickly picked up the command of English and worked incredibly hard to become the very, very best person she could be.”

Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Andy Cribbin, from Lancashire Constabulary’s Force Major Investigation Team (FMIT), said: “While we have now arrested a number of people as part of this investigation, our inquiries are very much ongoing and we continue to have a large team of officers and staff working around the clock to find out who was responsible for Aya’s death.

“Our determination to get justice for her family remains undimmed.

“Our thoughts are very much with Aya’s loved ones and her family are being supported by specially trained officers.

“I would like to thank those who have come forward to assist the investigation so far and I would continue to ask that anyone who has any information, however insignificant they may think it is, to get in touch.

“This is an absolutely tragic loss of a young life and we need to find out what happened – you may hold the key to help us do that so please don’t hesitate to contact us.

“We know a number of videos of the incident are on social media and it is important that, if people are aware of any footage, that they formally report this to us if they haven’t already done so as they are potential evidence.

“We would also ask people, even if they are well intentioned, not to share these videos out of respect for Aya and her family.

“Similarly, I would urge people not to speculate online about the cause of or motivation for the incident and to instead share what they know with us, as their information could prove vital.”

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The Toyota Avensis that police believe was used in the shooting was later found abandoned (Lancashire Police/PA)

The Toyota Avensis that police believe was used in the shooting was later found abandoned (Lancashire Police/PA)

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The Toyota Avensis that police believe was used in the shooting was later found abandoned (Lancashire Police/PA)

A number of people were travelling in the light green/silver Toyota Avensis from which the shots were fired close to the Lidl store.

The vehicle, with the registration number SV53 UBP, was abandoned a short time later in nearby Wellington Road and seized for forensic examination.

Any information or video footage can be sent in to us via the major incident portal at https://mipp.police.uk/operation/0401020120E05-PO1.

Anybody with information should contact 101, quoting log number 0412 of May 18, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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