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Police have released images of two men they want to speak to, after an altercation at a central London Tube station created mass panic on Friday.Officers want to speak to anyone who was at Oxford Circus Underground station at the time of the evacuation.Sixteen people were treated after they were injured fleeing the station, following reports of gunshots being fired on a Central Line platform.There was no evidence any weapons had been fired, police said.Shoppers were barricaded inside stores on Oxford street and armed police were deployed after the alarm was raised during the evening rush hour on Black Friday.Police initially treated the incident as potentially terrorism-related, before standing down.The British Transport Police (BTP) said it believes there was an altercation between two men on the platform before the scare.Oxford Circus scare: As it happenedThe Met said it began receiving “numerous” 999 calls reporting gunshots in Oxford Street and at Oxford Circus station at 16:38 GMT on Friday.The first armed response vehicle was on the scene in less than a minute from receiving the first call, Scotland Yard said.Oxford Circus – where Oxford Street and Regent Street meet – was cordoned off, while shops and businesses were placed in lockdown.In a statement, the Met Police said: “No casualties, evidence of any shots fired or any suspects were located by police.”But 16 people were injured as passengers fled from Oxford Circus station, in what witnesses said was “a stampede”. One patient was transferred to a major trauma centre for leg injuries, while eight people were taken to central London hospitals for minor injuries.By 18:05 GMT, the police operation had been stood down.In a statement, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan praised the city’s emergency services for a “swift response”.Media playback is unsupported on your deviceBBC reporter Helen Bushby said she had seen …read more

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CAIRO (Reuters) – Militants killed more than 230 people at a mosque in North Sinai on Friday, detonating a bomb and gunning down worshippers in the deadliest such attack in Egypt’s modern history, state media and witnesses said. No group immediately claimed responsibility, but since 2013 Egyptian security forces have battled an Islamic State affiliate in the mainly desert region, and militants have killed hundreds of police and soldiers. State media showed images of bloodied victims and bodies covered in blankets inside the Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, west of El Arish, the main city in North Sinai. Worshippers were finishing Friday prayers at the mosque when a bomb exploded, witnesses said. Around 40 gunmen set up positions outside the mosque with jeeps and opened fire from different directions as people tried to escape. ”Four groups of armed men attacked the worshippers inside the mosque after Friday noon prayers. Two groups were firing at ambulances to deter them, said Mohamed, a witness. The public prosecutors’ office said in a statement 235 people had been killed and 109 more wounded. Hours after the attack, Egypt’s military launched air strikes on targets in mountainous areas around Bir al-Abed, security sources and witnesses said. “The armed forces and the police will avenge our martyrs and restore security and stability with the utmost force,” Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said in a televised address. “What is happening is an attempt to stop us from our efforts in the fight against terrorism, to destroy our efforts to stop the terrible criminal plan that aims to destroy what is left of our region.” Egypt later said it would delay the opening of the Rafah border crossing to Gaza after the attack due to security concerns. The crossing had been due to open for …read more

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union handed Prime Minister Theresa May a 10-day “absolute deadline” to improve her Brexit divorce offer or face failure in persuading EU leaders to open trade talks with Britain at a December summit. Without a deal next month, time will be very tight to agree arrangements before Britain leaves the EU in March 2019, adding to pressure on businesses to avoid potential losses and move investments. “We need to see progress from UK within 10 days on all issues, including on Ireland,” European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted after meeting May in Brussels for one hour following an EU summit. A deal on the Northern Ireland border became suddenly trickier on Friday as the Dublin government looked set to fall. Tusk said it was still possible the other 27 EU leaders would conclude at a summit on Dec. 14-15 that Britain had made “sufficient progress” toward meeting three key conditions for them to approve the opening of trade talks in the new year. But, added the former Polish premier who chairs the bloc’s summit meetings, that was “still a huge challenge”. EU officials expect the crunch to come when May returns on Monday, Dec. 4, to meet the EU chief executive, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and his chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. “Tusk presented the timeline … with December 4 as the absolute deadline for the UK to make additional efforts, allowing Barnier to be in a position to recommend sufficient progress,” an EU official said. “May agreed to this time frame.” “The UK will need to give credible assurances as to how to avoid a hard border before December 4, as it is still unclear how this can be done,” the official added. A further complication lay in Ireland, where Prime …read more

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LONDON (Reuters) – Panic erupted among Christmas shopping crowds on London’s Oxford Street on Friday evening as armed officers raced to respond to reports of shots being fired in the area but police said later they had found no evidence of gunfire or casualties. Oxford Street, with its festive window displays and hundreds of overhead lights, was crammed with shoppers taking advantage of the Black Friday sales when the incident happened shortly after dusk. London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement they had found no evidence of gunfire, casualties or any suspects and that the incident, which lasted for just over an hour, had been stood down. “Given the nature of the information received, the Met responded in line with our existing operation as if the incident was terrorism, including the deployment of armed officers,” they said in a statement. A Reuters witness said panicked shoppers had fled Oxford Street and Oxford Circus underground station. The witness saw an elderly lady and a man carrying his child knocked over in the rush. “There were people running in all directions. I didn’t know which way to run,” the witness said. Britain’s transport police said they had received a report of one woman suffering a minor injury in the panic. The capital’s transport operator, Transport for London, said Oxford Circus and Bond Street stations, which had been briefly shut due to the incident, had later reopened. Additional reporting by David Milliken, William Schomberg and James Davey; Writing by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen AddisonOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.Let’s block ads! (Why?) …read more

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LONDON (Reuters) – London’s Oxford Circus underground station in the heart of the British capital’s main shopping district was evacuated on Friday evening as armed police swooped in to tackle an unspecified incident, a Reuters witness and police said. Armed police run along Oxford Street, London, Britain November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Peter NichollsBritish Transport Police confirmed officers had been sent to the station to respond to the incident. “If you are on Oxford Street go into a building. Officers are on scene and dealing,” London’s Metropolitan Police said on Twitter. The Reuters witness said Oxford Street had been packed with shoppers taking advantage of the Black Friday sales. The witness said the area had been cleared of people and traffic and fire engines and police were rushing to the scene. “Oxford Circus Station is closed while we investigate a customer incident,” said the capital’s transport operator, Transport for London, adding trains were not stopping at the station due to the incident. Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; writing by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen AddisonOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.Let’s block ads! (Why?) …read more

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LONDON (Reuters) – London’s Oxford Circus underground station in the heart of the British capital’s main shopping district was evacuated on Friday evening as armed police swooped in to tackle an unspecified incident, a Reuters witness and police said. Armed police run along Oxford Street, London, Britain November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Peter NichollsBritish Transport Police confirmed officers had been sent to the station to respond to the incident. “If you are on Oxford Street go into a building. Officers are on scene and dealing,” London’s Metropolitan Police said on Twitter. The Reuters witness said Oxford Street had been packed with shoppers taking advantage of the Black Friday sales. The witness said the area had been cleared of people and traffic and fire engines and police were rushing to the scene. “Oxford Circus Station is closed while we investigate a customer incident,” said the capital’s transport operator, Transport for London, adding trains were not stopping at the station due to the incident. Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; writing by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen AddisonOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.Let’s block ads! (Why?) …read more

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Police are responding to reports of an incident at London’s Oxford Circus Tube station.British Transport Police said officers were at the scene and warned people to avoid the area, in London’s West End.”Oxford Circus Station is closed while we investigate a customer incident,” Transport for London said.Witnesses said people were running away from the station.Let’s block ads! (Why?) …read more

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CAIRO (Reuters) – Militants killed more than 230 people at a mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai on Friday, detonating a bomb and gunning down worshippers in the deadliest attack in the country’s modern history, state media and witnesses said. No group immediately claimed responsibility, but since 2013 Egyptian security forces have battled a stubborn Islamic State affiliate in the mainly desert region, and militants have killed hundreds of police and soldiers. State media showed images of bloodied victims and bodies covered in blankets inside the Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, west of El Arish, the main city in North Sinai. Worshippers were finishing Friday prayers at the mosque when a bomb exploded, witnesses said. Around 40 gunmen set up positions outside the mosque with jeeps and opened fire from different directions as people tried to escape, witnesses said. “They were shooting at people as they left the mosque,” said a local resident whose relatives were at the scene. “They were shooting at the ambulances too.” The public prosecutors’ office said in a statement 235 people had been killed and 109 more wounded. Striking at a mosque would be a change in tactics for the Sinai militants, who have usually attacked troops and police and Christian churches. Arabiya news channel and some local sources said some of the worshippers were Sufis, whom groups such as Islamic State consider targets because they revere saints and shrines, which for Islamists is tantamount to idolatry. The jihadists have also attacked local tribes and their militias for working with the army and police, branding them traitors. The Sinai branch is one of Islamic State’s surviving branches following the collapse of its self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq after military defeats by U.S.-backed forces. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a former armed forces commander …read more

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JOHANNESBURG, Nov 25 (Reuters) - South Africa will use its annual budget next year to outline “decisive” policy to strengthen its fiscal framework, the...