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Two killed as Russia escalates attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure

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Russia’s attacks on such infrastructure in recent days have also caused severe power outages.

Russian strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure have killed two people, one in the country’s western Lviv region, the other in an attack in the northeast, officials said.

The attack in Lviv destroyed a building and sparked a fire, Governor Maksym Kozytskyi wrote on Telegram on Sunday, adding that rescue operations were under way.

In the Kharkiv region, Governor Oleh Syniehubov said that an air attack killed a 19-year-old man after a projectile hit a petrol station.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands in Ukraine’s Odesa region were left without power after debris from a downed Russian drone caused a blaze at an energy facility, Governor Oleh Kiper said.

Ukraine’s largest private electricity operator DTEK said 170,000 homes suffered power outages as a result of the attack.

The Ukrainian air force said that it shot down nine of 11 drones launched by Russia overnight, as well as nine out of 14 cruise missiles.

DTEK said five of its six plants have been damaged, with 80 percent of their generating capacity lost, according to Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.

DTEK supplies around a quarter of the country with electricity and repairs could take up to 18 months, said Stratford.

“But those six plants are just a drop in the ocean in relation to other energy plants, energy facilities that have been hit by Russia in recent weeks,” he said.

Russia has escalated attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in recent days, causing significant damage in several regions.

Ukrainian energy company Centrenergo said on Saturday that the Zmiiv Thermal Power Plant, one of the largest in the northeastern Kharkiv region, was entirely destroyed following Russian shelling last week.

Around 120,000 people in the area were still being affected by power outages, days after 700,000 people lost electricity after the plant was hit on March 22.

“These attacks are, in the Kremlin’s words, revenge for attacks that Ukraine had been making deep inside Russia, targeting their energy facilities and oil installations,” said Al Jazeera’s Stratford.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in an Easter message on Sunday, urged the country to persevere.

“There is not a day or night right now when Russian terror does not try to shatter our lives. Last night, we once again saw rockets and Shaheds launched against our people,” he said.

“We defend ourselves, we persevere; our spirit does not give up and knows that death can be averted. Life can win,” Zelenskyy said.

In Russia, 10 Czech-made Vampire rockets landed in the border region of Belgorod on Sunday, the Ministry of Defence said. One woman was injured when a fire broke out following the attack, said regional Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov.

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Al Jazeera and news agencies

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‘Obvious’ Sydney mall killer targeted women, Australian police say

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New South Wales Police commissioner says videos of the attack ‘speak for themselves’.

Australian police have said they believe a man who fatally six stabbed people at a busy Sydney shopping centre specifically targeted women.

Five women and one man were killed on Saturday when a 40-year-old man went on a stabbing spree in the beach suburb of Bondi.

The women killed in the attack were identified as a 55-year-old designer, a 47-year-old architect and volunteer surf lifesaver, the 25-year-old daughter of an entrepreneur, a 27-year-old student from China and a 38-year-old new mother.

A 30-year-old Pakistani security guard, who reportedly tried to stop the attacker, was the only man killed in the attack.

The majority of those injured in the attack were also women.

New South Wales state Police Commissioner Karen Webb said on Monday that it was “obvious” the suspected attacker, Joel Cauchi, singled out women.

“It’s obvious to me, it’s obvious to detectives that seems to be an area of interest that the offender focused on women and avoided the men,” Webb told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

“The videos speak for themselves, don’t they? That’s certainly a line for inquiry for us.”

Webb said officers were in the process of interviewing people close to Cauchi to gain “some insight into what he might have been thinking”.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the gender breakdown of the victims was “concerning”.

“The gender breakdown is of course concerning – each and every victim here is mourned,” he told ABC radio.

Videos shared on social media showed Cauchi, wearing shorts and an Australian national rugby league jersey, targeting mostly female victims as he rampaged through Westfield Bondi Junction shopping complex.

The attack was brought to an end when police inspector Amy Scott shot him dead.

Australia’s national flag has been set at half-mast at major venues, including the Parliament House and Sydney’s Harbour Bridge, in honour of the victims.

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Al Jazeera and news agencies

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US military says it destroyed dozens of drones fired from Iran, Yemen

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US Central Command says it hit more than 80 one-way attack drones aimed at Israel.

The United States has destroyed dozens of drones and at least six ballistic missiles aimed at Israel from Iran and Yemen, its military has said.

US forces hit more than 80 one-way attack drones, including seven UAVs targeted on the ground prior to launch, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Monday.

“Iran’s continued unprecedented, malign, and reckless behaviour endangers regional stability and the safety of U.S. and coalition forces,” CENTCOM said in a post on X

“CENTCOM remains postured to support Israel’s defense against these dangerous actions by Iran. We will continue to work with all our regional partners to increase regional security.”

CENTCOM made the announcement after Iran late on Saturday launched its first-ever attack on Israeli territory in retaliation for a suspected Israeli attack on its embassy in Syria.

The attack involving more than 300 drones and missiles caused only modest damage as most were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system or the US and its partners.

Defense of Israel Activities Update

On April 13 and the morning of April 14, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) forces, supported by U.S. European Command destroyers, successfully engaged and destroyed more than 80 one-way attack uncrewed aerial vehicles (OWA UAV) and at least six… pic.twitter.com/QYyk01o1Vs

— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) April 14, 2024

US President Joe Biden earlier praised US forces for their “extraordinary skill” in helping Israel take down “nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles.”

Biden described US support for Israel’s self-defence as “ironclad” but warned that Washington would not join any retaliatory action taken by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government against Tehran.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said US forces “remain postured to protect US troops and partners in the region, provide further support for Israel’s defence, and enhance regional stability.”

The threat of all-out war between Israel and Iran has put the region on tenterhooks, prompting calls for restraint from Middle Eastern neighbours and major powers.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday warned that the Middle East was on “the brink”.

“The people of the region are confronting a real danger of a devastating full-scale conflict. Now is the time to defuse and de-escalate,” Guterres told a UN Security Council meeting convened in response to the Iranian attack.

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Iran claims ‘right to self-defence’ in Israel attack

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Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations says his country’s drone and missile attack against Israel was ‘in the exercise of Iran’s inherent right to self-defence’. Saeid Iravani told the UN Security Council Iran is not seeking to escalate conflict in the region.

Published On 15 Apr 2024

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