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MOUNT ARAFAT: Pilgrims join the high point of the hajj rituals on Mount Arafat near Makkah yesterday. — AFP
MOUNT ARAFAT: Pilgrims join the high point of the hajj rituals on Mount Arafat near Makkah yesterday. — AFP

Pilgrims ascend Mount Arafat for hajj climax - Saudi Arabia launches Persian hajj TV

Rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs apologized on Sunday after hotel surveillance video surfaced showing him physically assaulting his then-girlfriend Casandra Ventura in 2016. Combs is the target of several civil lawsuits that characterize him as a violent sexual predator who used alcohol and drugs to subdue his victims, and his homes were raided this year by federal agents.

Disturbing footage published Friday shows Combs attacking Ventura -- a singer and model also known simply as Cassie -- corroborating allegations she made in a now-settled lawsuit late last year.

“My behavior on that video is inexcusable,” Combs said in a video posted on Instagram, adding he was “disgusted” and “sought out professional help” after the incident including therapy and rehab.

“I’m so sorry,” he said. “I’m committed to be a better man each and every day.” The footage, which was published by CNN, shows the rap mogul hitting, dragging and kicking Ventura, who in her recent lawsuit said Combs subjected her to more than a decade of coercion by physical force and drugs, plus a 2018 rape.

In the video, Ventura leaves a hotel room after which Combs, appearing to wear only a towel, chases her before throwing her to the hallway floor and assaulting her. “The gut-wrenching video has only further confirmed the disturbing and predatory behavior of Mr. Combs,” read a statement from her lawyer Douglas Wigdor.

Ventura sued Combs in federal court last fall in a bombshell suit that was settled out of court but succeeded by a string of similarly lurid sexual assault claims against the hip-hop star. Ventura met Combs when she was 19 and he was 37, after which he signed her to his label and they began a romantic relationship.

Combs has previously vehemently denied all accusations against him. “Enough is enough,” he said in a December 2023 statement, also on his Instagram page, saying accusers were “looking for a quick payday.” “For the last couple of weeks, I have sat silently and watched people try to assassinate my character, destroy my reputation and my legacy.”

On Sunday after the apology video emerged, a second Ventura lawyer responded, saying the Combs message “rings hollow.” “That he was only compelled to ‘apologize’ once his repeated denials were proven false shows his pathetic desperation, and no one will be swayed by his disingenuous words,” lawyer Meredith Firetog said, according to celebrity website TMZ.

In March armed agents entered Combs’s sprawling luxury properties in Miami and Los Angeles, a heavily publicized bicoastal operation that suggested an investigation into the rapper is underway. — AFP

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