Russia rejects reports Daesh behind New Year’s Eve blast

The New Year’s Eve blast killed 39 people. (AFP)
Updated 18 January 2019
0

Russia rejects reports Daesh behind New Year’s Eve blast

  • Investigation on the explosion that ripped through an apartment block in the Urals city of Magnitogorsk, killing 39 people
  • Daesh claimed the operation was carried out by members of its Caucasus branch

MOSCOW: Russian investigators said Friday that a New Year’s Eve blast that killed 39 people was likely the result of a gas explosion, dismissing reports that the Daesh group was behind it.
The Investigate Committee said it was still investigating the explosion that ripped through an apartment block in the Urals city of Magnitogorsk, killing 39 people.
On New Year’s Day, three more people died when a minibus exploded not far from the affected building in the city.
On Thursday, an article in Deash’s weekly Arabic-language newspaper Al-Naba said the group was behind the blasts.
It said the Daesh group did not claim responsibility earlier for “security reasons.”
Daesh claimed the operation was carried out by members of its Caucasus branch, the media outlet said.
The Investigative Committee said it was too early to draw any conclusions as a probe was still under way.
“Conclusions about the circumstances of the tragedy in Magnitogorsk will be made following a set of investigative measures,” spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said in a statement.
She said a gas explosion was still the investigators’ main line of inquiry, even though they were considering all possibilities.
She said media should not trust “reports of terrorist organizations which — as we know — take credit for all high-profile accidents in various countries.”
A spokesman for the FSB said the security service would not comment. “All information will be published shortly,” he told AFP.
Immediately after the apartment blast, President Vladimir Putin and top ministers rushed to the scene of the tragedy, while the FSB quickly ruled out foul play.
Shortly after the explosions two local media outlets, citing law enforcement sources, said the apartment block blast was likely the result of a terror attack.


More than 60 dead in South Africa flooding after heavy rains

Updated 24 April 2019
0

More than 60 dead in South Africa flooding after heavy rains

  • Rescue workers were digging through collapsed buildings on Wednesday
  • The rains mainly hit areas around the port city of Durban

DURBAN: At least 60 people have been killed and more than 1,000 have fled their homes after heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides along South Africa’s eastern coast, authorities said on Wednesday.
Most of the deaths were in KwaZulu-Natal province. Flooding also killed at least three people in neighboring Eastern Cape province, state broadcaster SABC said.
The rains mainly hit areas around the port city of Durban. Multiple dwellings collapsed in mudslides, said Robert McKenzie, a KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services spokesman.
Rescue workers were digging through collapsed buildings on Wednesday.
Victor da Silva, a resident of the coastal town of Amanzimtoti, said his family managed to evacuate before the floods destroyed their home and cars.
“On Monday, the water was just crazy. And yesterday morning I got here, everything was fine, my garage was still here, the other part of the house was still here, and it just couldn’t stop raining,” Da Silva said. “And then an hour and a half later, everything poof (vanished) because the rain just hasn’t stopped.
Authorities in southern Tanzania ordered evacuations of residents from low-lying areas and the closure of schools and offices ahead of landfall of Tropical Cyclone Kenneth on neighboring Mozambique’s coast on Thursday.
“We’ve decided to evacuate all residents of valleys and other low-lying areas and we advise them to seek refuge at public spaces,” Mtwara regional commissioner Gelasius Byakanwa, told reporters.
Johan Fourie said he fled his home in Amanzimtoti, Kwazulu-Natal, just before part of it collapsed.
“I nearly lost my life, and my neighbor, I believe, is in hospital,” Fourie told eNCA television.
The region had been hit by heavy rains for days, but authorities did not foresee the extent of the downpour late on Monday, said Lennox Mabaso, a spokesman for the provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department.
“As a result, there was flooding and some structures were undermined and collapsed on people,” Mabaso said.
Some people were swept away by the water, he added.
President Cyril Ramaphosa visited affected communities in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday and was expected in the Eastern Cape in the next few days.
“This is partly what climate change is about, that it just hits when we least expect it,” he said.
Last week, 13 people were killed during an Easter service in KwaZulu-Natal when a church wall collapsed after days of heavy rains and strong winds.