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23 dead, 50 injured in Italy head-on train collision

Gorkha Post

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At least 23 people have been killed and more than 50 injured in a head-on collision between two trains in the south of Italy, according to rescuers at the scene.

The high-speed collision happened on a slight bend in the track in open countryside and flung the front carriages of both trains into olive groves bordering the line, slinging bits of metal from the wreckage.

Emergency services raced to extract people from the wreckage of smashed carriages thrown across a single track into olive groves near the town of Andria, in what one witness described as an “apocalyptic scene”.

Coffins were taken to the site near the city of Bari to carry away the first of the dead as 200 rescue workers sifted through the wreckage in temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius.

“I saw dead people, others who were begging for help, people crying. The worst scene of my life,” one policeman told journalists.

Giancarlo Conticchio, head of the railway police for the region, said more than 40 people were injured, four of them critically.

“We will be working through the night to search the wreckage for survivors or other victims,” he said.

The trains were operated by private railway company Ferrotramviaria — just one of the 30 or so private companies which run on small lines criss-crossing Italy’s network in areas not covered by national operator Trenitalia.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said it was “a moment for tears” and the country would “not stop until we know what happened”.

He was expected to participate at a crisis unit meeting at the Bari prefecture later in the day.

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Pope Francis sent his “fervent prayers for those who have tragically died”.

AFP

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Israeli fighter jets strike Gaza after blast wounds four soldiers

Agency Press France

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GAZA CITY — Israeli fighter jets struck the Gaza Strip on Saturday after four soldiers were wounded when an improvised explosive device blew up along the border with the Palestinian enclave.

The explosion earlier Saturday, which left two of the Israeli soldiers severely injured, was one of the most serious incidents on the border of the Hamas-ruled enclave since the Islamist movement and Israel fought a war in 2014.

In response Israel’s army said “fighter jets targeted six military targets in Gaza belonging to Hamas, including: a terror tunnel in the Zaytun area and military compounds near Deir el-Balah and Khan Yunis”.

The army then reported a “launch was identified from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory”.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a security conference in Munich called the Gaza border incident “very serious” and pledged to ‘respond appropriately’.

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A Palestinian security source said the Israeli air strikes hit three bases belonging to Hamas in the east of the blockaded Gaza enclave.

Two Palestinians were injured in the raids, Palestinian medical sources said.

Earlier in the day the army said “two soldiers were severely wounded, one moderately and one slightly” when an improvised explosive device blew up along the border fence with Gaza.

None of the soldiers’ lives were in danger, a spokesman clarified.

In response Israeli forces said a tank quickly opened fire at an “observation post” in southern Gaza, causing no injuries on the Palestinian side.

Palestinian security sources said the explosion took place east of the city of Khan Yunis.

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