Four dead after military helicopter crashes in Istanbul

Fire fighters and police inspect the site of a helicopter crash in Istanbul. (Reuters)
Updated 11 February 2019
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Four dead after military helicopter crashes in Istanbul

  • The helicopter plowed to the ground in the residential Cekmekoy district
  • Four Turkish soldiers were killed last November after a military helicopter crashed in another residential area of Istanbul

ANKARA: Four soldiers were killed on Monday after a Turkish military helicopter crashed in a residential area of Istanbul, the province’s governor said.
“Unfortunately four of our soldiers became martyrs,” Istanbul governor Ali Yerlikaya told reporters at the scene.
Yerlikaya said no other military personnel or civilian had been injured after the helicopter plowed to the ground in the Cekmekoy district.
The incident happened around 18:51 (15:51 GMT), he said in televised comments.
Images on Turkish television earlier showed thick black smoke emanating from behind a white wall at the site on the Asian side of Istanbul.
Yerlikaya said the Istanbul public prosecutor had launched an investigation into the cause of the crash.
Four Turkish soldiers were killed last November after a military helicopter crashed in another residential area of Istanbul, hitting a four-story building.


UN begins evacuating refugees from Libya to Niger

Updated 4 min 11 sec ago
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UN begins evacuating refugees from Libya to Niger

  • The renewed fighting has killed over 200 people and left more than 900 wounded
  • Dozens of women and children were among those evacuated on the UNHCR flight that landed in Niger early Friday morning

GENEVA: The UN said Friday it had evacuated 163 refugees from war-ravaged Libya to neighboring Niger, but more than 3,000 others were still trapped in detention centers affected by clashes.
The move marked the first evacuation of refugees and migrants out of Libya since fighting escalated in Tripoli two weeks ago, the UN refugee agency said.
“Given the situation in Libya, humanitarian evacuations are a lifeline for detained refugees whose lives are in jeopardy in Libya,” UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi said in a statement.
The operation came as fierce fighting continued between forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar and those backing the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
The renewed fighting has killed over 200 people and left more than 900 wounded, the World Health Organization said Thursday.
More than 25,000 have been displaced, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Dozens of women and children were among those evacuated on the UNHCR flight that landed in Niger early Friday morning.
They had all been held in detention centers near the frontlines of the conflict.
UNHCR said it had previously relocated many of them from the Abu Selim and Ain Zara centers to its Gathering and Departure Facility (GDF) in the center of the capital.
In all, it said, it had relocated 539 refugees from several detention centers near the immediate fighting zone.
But it said more than 3,000 refugees and migrants remain trapped in detention in areas where the fighting was raging.
The agency said it remained “extremely concerned” for the safety of those who remain “trapped inside detention centers and exposed to violence.”
Grandi meanwhile hailed Niger for welcoming the refugees and urged other countries to follow suit.
“Niger’s solidarity in receiving these refugees is world-leading and exemplary, but Niger cannot do this alone,” he said.
“There must be shared responsibility and we need other countries to come forward to lend a hand and help bring vulnerable refugees out of Libya to safety.”
UNHCR issued an urgent appeal to the international community to find solutions for all the trapped and detained refugees in Libya.
Among other things, it said there was a need for evacuations and humanitarian corridors to allow refugees in its GDF in Tripoli to find safety abroad.
It also said new such spaces were needed, since the facility had only limited capacity.