Russian Black Sea Commander Sokolov Shown on Video Call after Ukraine Said it Killed Him

Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Vice-Admiral Viktor Sokolov salutes during a send-off ceremony for reservists drafted during partial mobilisation, in Sevastopol, Crimea September 27, 2022. (Reuters)
Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Vice-Admiral Viktor Sokolov salutes during a send-off ceremony for reservists drafted during partial mobilisation, in Sevastopol, Crimea September 27, 2022. (Reuters)
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Russian Black Sea Commander Sokolov Shown on Video Call after Ukraine Said it Killed Him

Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Vice-Admiral Viktor Sokolov salutes during a send-off ceremony for reservists drafted during partial mobilisation, in Sevastopol, Crimea September 27, 2022. (Reuters)
Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Vice-Admiral Viktor Sokolov salutes during a send-off ceremony for reservists drafted during partial mobilisation, in Sevastopol, Crimea September 27, 2022. (Reuters)

Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, was shown on Russian state television on Tuesday attending a defense leaders' meeting remotely, a day after Ukrainian special forces said they had killed him.

In video and photographs released by the defense ministry, Sokolov was shown as one of several fleet commanders on video apparently joining an in-person meeting of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other army chiefs, although not speaking. It was not clear when the video was filmed.

Ukraine's special forces said on Monday that Sokolov had been killed along with 33 other officers in a missile attack last week on the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in the port of Sevastopol in Crimea, seized from Ukraine in 2014.

In response to the Russian video, the Ukraine special forces said on Telegram: "Since the Russians were urgently forced to publish a response with Sokolov allegedly alive, our units are clarifying the information."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had declined to comment on the Ukrainian claim, referring reporters to the ministry.

In the video, Shoigu said more than 17,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in September and that more than 2,700 weapons, including seven American Bradley fighting vehicles, had been destroyed.

Reuters could not independently verify battlefield claims.

"The Ukrainian armed forces are suffering serious losses along the entire front line," Shoigu said, adding that the Ukrainian counteroffensive had so far produced no results.

"The United States and its allies continue to arm the armed forces of Ukraine, and the Kyiv regime throws untrained soldiers to the slaughter in senseless assaults," Shoigu said.

Kyiv's counteroffensive has yet to seize much territory from Russian forces, which control about 17.5% of Ukraine's internationally recognized territory.

According to a Sept. 19 scorecard by the Belfer Center at Harvard's Kennedy School, Russia has gained 35 sq miles (91 sq km) from Ukraine in the past month while Ukrainian forces have taken 16 sq miles (41 sq km) from Russian forces.



Paris Attack Near Eiffel Tower Leaves German Tourist Dead, 2 Hurt

Forensic police work at the scene of a stabbing in Paris on December 2, 2023. (Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP)
Forensic police work at the scene of a stabbing in Paris on December 2, 2023. (Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP)
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Paris Attack Near Eiffel Tower Leaves German Tourist Dead, 2 Hurt

Forensic police work at the scene of a stabbing in Paris on December 2, 2023. (Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP)
Forensic police work at the scene of a stabbing in Paris on December 2, 2023. (Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP)

A German tourist died and two other people, including a British citizen, were hurt after an attack by a man armed with a knife and hammer near the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Saturday, in what President Emmanuel Macron described as "a terrorist attack".
Police quickly arrested the 26-year-old man, a French national, after subduing him with a Taser stun gun, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told reporters on Saturday.
The suspect had in 2016 been sentenced to four years in prison for planning another attack, and had been on the French security services' watch list, the minister said, adding that he was also known for having psychiatric disorders.
The man attacked a tourist couple on Saturday evening with a knife on the Quai de Grenelle, a few feet from the Eiffel Tower, mortally wounding the German national.
He was then chased by police and attacked two other people with a hammer, including the Briton, before being arrested.
"We are supporting a British man who was injured in Paris and are in contact with the local authorities," said a spokesperson for the British foreign ministry.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on X that he was "shocked" by the attack.
France has been on high alert since raising its security threshold in October, when a Chechen-origin man with a knife killed a teacher in a school in northern France.
The attack in central Paris comes less than eight months before the French capital is due to host the Olympic Games and could raise questions about security at the global sporting event.


UK to Start Gaza Surveillance Flights to Help Find Hostages

British servicemen hold Union Jack after the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) military exercise Baltic Protector 2019 in the former Soviet military town near Skrunda, Latvia July 2, 2019. FILE: REUTERS/Ints Kalnins Acquire Licensing Rights
British servicemen hold Union Jack after the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) military exercise Baltic Protector 2019 in the former Soviet military town near Skrunda, Latvia July 2, 2019. FILE: REUTERS/Ints Kalnins Acquire Licensing Rights
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UK to Start Gaza Surveillance Flights to Help Find Hostages

British servicemen hold Union Jack after the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) military exercise Baltic Protector 2019 in the former Soviet military town near Skrunda, Latvia July 2, 2019. FILE: REUTERS/Ints Kalnins Acquire Licensing Rights
British servicemen hold Union Jack after the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) military exercise Baltic Protector 2019 in the former Soviet military town near Skrunda, Latvia July 2, 2019. FILE: REUTERS/Ints Kalnins Acquire Licensing Rights

The UK's military will conduct surveillance flights over Gaza to help locate hostages held by Hamas since its October 7 attack on Israel, Britain's defense ministry confirmed at the weekend.

Hamas fighters seized around 240 Israelis and foreign hostages, according to Israeli authorities. Around 110 have since been freed, mainly during a recent week-long truce, AFP reported.

Israel's military said on Friday it had resumed fighting in the besieged Palestinian territory, blaming Hamas. The resumption of combat has frustrated hopes for the swift release of the more than 130 captives the Israeli army has said are still being held in Gaza.

The UK has said at least 12 British nationals were killed in the October 7 attacks -- in which Israeli officials say about 1,200 people died, mostly civilians -- and that a further five are still missing.

But it has not confirmed how many are being held by Hamas.

Israel responded to the October 7 attack by vowing to eliminate the militant group and its subsequent relentless air and ground campaign has killed more than 15,000 people, also mostly civilians.

London did not reveal when its military surveillance flights over the territory would start but stressed they would be unarmed and focused only on hostage recovery efforts.

"In support of the ongoing hostage rescue activity, the UK Ministry of Defense will conduct surveillance flights over the Eastern Mediterranean, including operating in air space over Israel and Gaza," it said in a statement.

"Surveillance aircraft will be unarmed, do not have a combat role, and will be tasked solely to locate hostages," the ministry added.

"Only information relating to hostage rescue will be passed to the relevant authorities responsible for hostage rescue."

UK government minister Victoria Atkins told the BBC on Sunday that the aircraft to be utilized were "unarmed and unmanned drones".

Alongside the United States, the UK in October deployed various military assets to the eastern Mediterranean to deter "any malign interference in the conflict".

That included maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft as well as a Royal Navy task group moving to the region, the defense ministry said at the time.


About 190 Migrants Rescued in English Channel over Weekend

French Gendarme officers look on as migrants are evacuated from a makeshift camp to reception centers during a sheltering operation by the local prefecture in Loon-Plage, northern France on November 30, 2023. (Photo by Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP)
French Gendarme officers look on as migrants are evacuated from a makeshift camp to reception centers during a sheltering operation by the local prefecture in Loon-Plage, northern France on November 30, 2023. (Photo by Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP)
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About 190 Migrants Rescued in English Channel over Weekend

French Gendarme officers look on as migrants are evacuated from a makeshift camp to reception centers during a sheltering operation by the local prefecture in Loon-Plage, northern France on November 30, 2023. (Photo by Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP)
French Gendarme officers look on as migrants are evacuated from a makeshift camp to reception centers during a sheltering operation by the local prefecture in Loon-Plage, northern France on November 30, 2023. (Photo by Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP)

Some 190 migrants have been rescued off the Calais coast in northern France since Friday night while trying to cross the English Channel on dinghies to reach Britain, local French authorities said on Saturday, without specifying from where those migrants had come.

The Channel is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes and currents are strong. Human traffickers typically overload the dinghies, leaving them barely afloat and at the mercy of waves as they try to reach British shores.


Russia, Ukraine to Conduct Mutual Visits to Prisoners of War

Ukrainian troops gather for a photo after being released in prisoner swap with Russia, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in an unknown location, Ukraine in this handout image released January 8, 2023. (Andriy Yermak Via Telegram/Handout via Reuters)
Ukrainian troops gather for a photo after being released in prisoner swap with Russia, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in an unknown location, Ukraine in this handout image released January 8, 2023. (Andriy Yermak Via Telegram/Handout via Reuters)
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Russia, Ukraine to Conduct Mutual Visits to Prisoners of War

Ukrainian troops gather for a photo after being released in prisoner swap with Russia, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in an unknown location, Ukraine in this handout image released January 8, 2023. (Andriy Yermak Via Telegram/Handout via Reuters)
Ukrainian troops gather for a photo after being released in prisoner swap with Russia, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in an unknown location, Ukraine in this handout image released January 8, 2023. (Andriy Yermak Via Telegram/Handout via Reuters)

Russia's Commissioner for Human Rights Tatiana Moskalkova and Ukrainian human rights ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets plan to conduct several mutual visits to prisoners of war, Russia's RIA news agency reported on Sunday.

"Russian military personnel will be visited on the Ukrainian side. Ukrainian military personnel will be visited on the Russian side," RIA cited Moskalkova as saying.

He also said that there will be several of these visits, we have a schedule.


North Korea Says Begins Spy Satellite Operations

FILE PHOTO: North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un visits the Pyongyang General Control Centre of the National Aerospace Technology Administration to inspect operational readiness of the reconnaissance satellites and view aerospace photographs, in this picture released by the Korean Central News Agency on November 25, 2023. KCNA via REUTERS
FILE PHOTO: North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un visits the Pyongyang General Control Centre of the National Aerospace Technology Administration to inspect operational readiness of the reconnaissance satellites and view aerospace photographs, in this picture released by the Korean Central News Agency on November 25, 2023. KCNA via REUTERS
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North Korea Says Begins Spy Satellite Operations

FILE PHOTO: North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un visits the Pyongyang General Control Centre of the National Aerospace Technology Administration to inspect operational readiness of the reconnaissance satellites and view aerospace photographs, in this picture released by the Korean Central News Agency on November 25, 2023. KCNA via REUTERS
FILE PHOTO: North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un visits the Pyongyang General Control Centre of the National Aerospace Technology Administration to inspect operational readiness of the reconnaissance satellites and view aerospace photographs, in this picture released by the Korean Central News Agency on November 25, 2023. KCNA via REUTERS

North Korea has begun reconnaissance satellite operations, state news agency KCNA said on Sunday, after the country launched its first military spy satellite last month in a move that drew new sanctions from the US and its allies.
The new satellite operations office at the Pyongyang General Control Centre of the National Aerospace Technology Administration (NATA), started to discharge its mission on Saturday and will report acquired information to the reconnaissance bureau at the army and other major units, KCNA said.
North Korea says it successfully launched its first military spy satellite on Nov. 21, transmitting photos of the White House, the Pentagon, US military bases and "target regions" in South Korea.
The move raised regional tensions and sparked fresh sanctions from the US, Australia, Japan and South Korea. Pyongyang has not released any imagery from the satellite so far, leaving analysts and foreign governments to debate how capable the new satellite actually is.
In a separate article carried by KCNA on Sunday, an unidentified North Korean military commentator said the South is blamed for the breakdown of their military confidence-building agreement, justifying its spy satellite launch as what other countries also do.
The article also argued that South Korea's own, first military reconnaissance launch this month proved to be self-contradictory.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Chairman Kim Myung-soo on Saturday made a visit to frontline units near the border with the North to assess readiness posture amid heightened tensions, the JCS said on Sunday.
North Korean soldiers brought back heavy weapons into the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) border and restored guard posts that the two countries had demolished, after Seoul suspended part of a 2018 military accord between the two Koreas in a protest over Pyongyang's launch of the spy satellite.
On Friday, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carried South Korea's first spy satellite into orbit from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base. South Korea has contracted with the American company to launch a total of five spy satellites by 2025 in an effort to accelerate its goal of having 24-hour watch over the Korean peninsula.


Iran Slams State Department Report: US is the Main Instigator in Supporting Terrorism

Woman with Palestinian flag sitting outside the former US embassy in Tehran (Reuters)
Woman with Palestinian flag sitting outside the former US embassy in Tehran (Reuters)
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Iran Slams State Department Report: US is the Main Instigator in Supporting Terrorism

Woman with Palestinian flag sitting outside the former US embassy in Tehran (Reuters)
Woman with Palestinian flag sitting outside the former US embassy in Tehran (Reuters)

Iran responded to the US State Department's annual report on terrorism, accusing Washington of using terrorism as a tool against others, and demanded that it prosecute those involved in the assassination of al-Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani strongly criticized the annual report by the State Department on global terrorism, labeling it as "biased and politically motivated."

Kanaani argued that the report, aimed at portraying certain countries as threats to the US, lacks "international credibility" and fails to represent nations' "genuine efforts to combat terrorism accurately."

The Iranian News Agency (IRNA) quoted Kanaani as saying that after 20 years of publishing such unilateral and targeted reports, the international community and public opinion are in a better position to understand and judge the US administration and its actions and double standards in dealing with terrorism.

He underlined the importance of not distorting the true nature of the legitimate actions undertaken by regional resistance movements, which have garnered international recognition for their steadfast efforts against the occupation of lands by foreigners.

The US is the main instigator in organizing, training, equipping, and directing terrorists, particularly from groups like ISIS, he stressed, highlighting the extensive support that Washington provides to Israel, a recognized sponsor of terrorism, including giving various bombs and lethal weapons.

Furthermore, Kanaani pointed out that the US consistently hampers UN Security Council resolutions calling for a halt to Gaza bombings, making this country complicit in the deaths of over 15,000 civilians, including women and children, in the Strip.

He indicated that the US administration is aware of the involvement of some of its former officials in the assassination of Soleimani and continues to avoid its responsibility in holding those responsible accountable.

He highlighted that the US not only facilitates the transfer, financing, and refuge of terrorists but also shamelessly employs terrorism as a tool to advance its foreign policy agenda.

- Bagheri to Baghdad

Iranian media reported that Chief of Staff General Mohammad Bagheri arrived in Iraq at the head of a high-level military delegation for a three-day visit.

During this visit, Bagheri is scheduled to meet several high-level political and military officials and discuss bilateral and regional cooperation.

- Joint training with Russia and China

Meanwhile, Iran, Russia, and China's naval forces are set to stage a joint exercise in the Gulf.

Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Shahram Irani told a news channel that the drills will include various divisions, adding that delegates from Pakistan, Brazil, Oman, India, South Africa, and several Caspian Sea littoral states will participate as observers.

The Commander explained that the joint naval maneuvers between Iran and Oman took place on Thursday for maritime rescue operations, adding that they take place annually.

He explained that the maneuvers developed throughout the years, and now both countries can participate in rescue missions.

- UUV to destroy mines

During a defense exhibition, the Iranian Navy revealed an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) capable of destroying sea mines.

Iranian media said this new submarine can operate up to 200m deep and identify and destroy all anchored and hidden mines.


Türkiye's Erdogan Rejects US Pressure to Cut Hamas Ties

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - AFP
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - AFP
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Türkiye's Erdogan Rejects US Pressure to Cut Hamas Ties

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - AFP
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Saturday pushed back against mounting US pressure to cut Ankara's historic ties with Hamas in the wake of the militants' unprecedented attacks on Israel.

The US Treasury's top terrorism financing official conveyed Washington's "profound" alarm about Ankara's past relations with Hamas during a visit to Türkiye this week.

Under Secretary Brian Nelson said Washington has not detected any money passing through Türkiye to Hamas since the Gaza war broke out eight weeks ago.

But he argued that Ankara had helped Hamas access funding in the past and should now use local laws to clamp down on potential future transfers.

Erdogan said Saturday that Washington was well aware that Türkiye does not view Hamas as a terrorist organization.

"First of all, Hamas is a reality of Palestine, it is a political party there and it entered the elections as a political party and won," he said in remarks released by his office.

"We form our foreign policy in Ankara and design it only according to Türkiye's interests and the expectations of our people," Erdogan said, AFP reported.

"I am sure that our interlocutors appreciate Türkiye's consistent and balanced foreign policy steps in such humanitarian crises and conflicts."

Israel on Friday resumed punishing air strikes after the sides failed to extend a seven-day truce that had seen 80 Israeli hostages released in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners.


Militants Open Fire at Bus in Pakistan, Killing 9

Fishermen collect seafood before selling it to a market in Karachi, Pakistan, 28 November 2023 (issued 29 November). EPA/SHAHZAIB AKBER
Fishermen collect seafood before selling it to a market in Karachi, Pakistan, 28 November 2023 (issued 29 November). EPA/SHAHZAIB AKBER
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Militants Open Fire at Bus in Pakistan, Killing 9

Fishermen collect seafood before selling it to a market in Karachi, Pakistan, 28 November 2023 (issued 29 November). EPA/SHAHZAIB AKBER
Fishermen collect seafood before selling it to a market in Karachi, Pakistan, 28 November 2023 (issued 29 November). EPA/SHAHZAIB AKBER

Militants opened fire at a bus in northern Pakistan, killing nine people including two soldiers, local police said.
The shooting occurred on Saturday night in the Chilas area of the northern Gilgit Baltistan region, police officer Azmat Shah said.
The bus was carrying passengers from Gilgit to Rawalpindi. The driver lost control of the bus when it was hit by the gunfire and crashed into a truck. The truck caught fire, killing the drivers of both vehicles.
At least 26 people were injured in the incident and transferred to local hospitals.
The home minister of Gilgit Baltistan, Shams Lone, told journalists the incident was an “act of terrorism" and said that two soldiers from Pakistan's army were among those killed.
A local Islamic cleric, Mufti Sher Zaman, was also injured, The Associated Press quoted him as saying.
After the incident, the location was cordoned off and police helped move traffic through the area in convoys, said senior police official Sardar Shehryar.
The chief minister of Gilgit Baltistan, Gulbar Khan, said a special investigation team was formed to investigate the incident. Law enforcement agencies were ordered to identify and arrest the culprits, he said.
Muhammad Khorasani, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, denied in a statement any link with the shooting, saying it was not carried out by their group.


Group of Swing State Muslims Vows to Ditch Biden in 2024 over Gaza War

President Joe Biden meets with Angola's President Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco in the Oval office of the White House, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Joe Biden meets with Angola's President Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco in the Oval office of the White House, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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Group of Swing State Muslims Vows to Ditch Biden in 2024 over Gaza War

President Joe Biden meets with Angola's President Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco in the Oval office of the White House, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Joe Biden meets with Angola's President Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco in the Oval office of the White House, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Muslim community leaders from several swing states pledged to withdraw support for US President Joe Biden on Saturday at a conference in suburban Detroit, citing his refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Democrats in Michigan have warned the White House that Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war could cost him enough support within the Arab American community to sway the outcome of the 2024 presidential election.

Leaders from Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania gathered behind a lectern that read “Abandon Biden, ceasefire now” in Dearborn, Michigan, the city with the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the United States, The Associated Press reported.

Biden’s unwillingness to call for a ceasefire in Gaza has damaged his relationship with the American Muslim community beyond repair, according to Minneapolis-based Jaylani Hussein, who helped organize the conference.

"Families and children are being wiped out with our tax dollars," Hussein said. “What we are witnessing today is the tragedy upon tragedy.”

Hussein, who is Muslim, told The Associated Press: “The anger in our community is beyond belief. One of the things that made us even more angry is the fact that most of us actually voted for President Biden. I even had one incident where a religious leader asked me, 'How do I get my 2020 ballot so I can destroy it?" he said.

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates previously said the Biden administration has pushed for humanitarian pauses in the fighting to get humanitarian aid into Gaza, adding that “fighting against the poison of antisemitism and standing up for Israel’s sovereign right to defend itself have always been core values for President Biden.”

Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were critical components of the "blue wall" of states that Biden returned to the Democratic column, helping him win the White House in 2020. About 3.45 million Americans identify as Muslim, or 1.1% of the country's population, and the demographic tends to lean Democratic, according to Pew Research Center.

But leaders said Saturday that the community's support for Biden has vanished as more Palestinian men, women and children are killed in Gaza.

“We are not powerless as American Muslims. We are powerful. We don’t only have the money, but we have the actual votes. And we will use that vote to save this nation from itself,” Hussein said at the conference.
The Muslim community leaders' condemnation of Biden does not indicate support for former President Donald Trump, the clear front-runner in the Republican primary, Hussein clarified.

“We don't have two options. We have many options. And we're going to exercise that," he said.


Earthquake of 7.5 Strikes Philippines, Tsunami Expected in Philippines and Japan

This photo taken on November 19, 2023 shows a resident inspecting his destroyed house in the town of Glan, Sarangani province, after a 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck the province. (AFP)
This photo taken on November 19, 2023 shows a resident inspecting his destroyed house in the town of Glan, Sarangani province, after a 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck the province. (AFP)
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Earthquake of 7.5 Strikes Philippines, Tsunami Expected in Philippines and Japan

This photo taken on November 19, 2023 shows a resident inspecting his destroyed house in the town of Glan, Sarangani province, after a 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck the province. (AFP)
This photo taken on November 19, 2023 shows a resident inspecting his destroyed house in the town of Glan, Sarangani province, after a 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck the province. (AFP)

An earthquake of at least magnitude 7.5 struck Mindanao in the southern Philippines late on Saturday, triggering evacuation orders for some areas and southwestern Japanese coasts because of warnings of tsunami waves of a meter (3 feet) or more.

The Philippine Seismology Agency Phivolcs said the waves could hit the Philippines by midnight (1600 GMT) and continue for hours.

The US Tsunami Warning System said there could be waves of up to 3 meters above the tide level along some Philippine coasts.

"Boats already at sea during this period should stay offshore in deep waters until further advised," Phivolcs said, asking people living near the coast of Surigao Del Sur and Davao Oriental provinces to "immediately evacuate" or "move farther inland".

The Japanese broadcaster NHK said tsunami waves of up to a meter were expected to reach Japan's southwestern coast around 30 minutes later - by 1:30 a.m. on Sunday (1630 GMT on Saturday).

Phivolcs said it did expect significant damage from the tremor itself, but warned of aftershocks.

Raymark Gentallan, local police chief of the coastal town of Hinatuan near the earthquake's epicenter, said power has been knocked out since the quake struck, but disaster response teams have not monitored any casualties or damage yet.

Earthquakes are common in the Philippines, which lies on the "Ring of Fire", a belt of volcanoes circling the Pacific Ocean that is prone to seismic activity.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said a quake of magnitude 7.5 had struck at a depth of 63 km (39 miles).

The US Geographic Survey put the quake at magnitude 7.6 and a depth of 32 km (20 miles), and said it had struck at 10:37 p.m., Philippines time (1437 GMT).