Floods Grip Kazakhstan and Russia as Tributaries of Ob Rise 

A drone view shows a flooded residential area in Petropavl, Kazakhstan April 13, 2024. (Reuters)
A drone view shows a flooded residential area in Petropavl, Kazakhstan April 13, 2024. (Reuters)
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Floods Grip Kazakhstan and Russia as Tributaries of Ob Rise 

A drone view shows a flooded residential area in Petropavl, Kazakhstan April 13, 2024. (Reuters)
A drone view shows a flooded residential area in Petropavl, Kazakhstan April 13, 2024. (Reuters)

Swathes of northern Kazakhstan and Russia's Urals region were flooded on Monday as melt waters swelled the tributaries of the world's seventh longest river system, forcing more than 125,000 people to flee their homes.

Russia's southern Ural region and northern Kazakhstan have been grappling with the worst flooding in living memory after very large snow falls melted swiftly amid heavy rain over land already waterlogged before winter.

That has swelled the tributaries of the Ob, which rises in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia and empties into the Arctic Ocean, beyond bursting point, leaving some cities in Russia and Kazakhstan under water.

Several districts of the northern Kazakh city of Petropavlovsk were completely flooded, said a Reuters journalist in the city, which sits on the Ishim River, a tributary of the Irtysh, the chief tributary of the Ob.

Almost 1,000 houses have been flooded in the North Kazakhstan region of which Petropavlovsk is the center, and over 5,000 people have been evacuated, local officials said. There have been interruptions in power and water supply in the city.

People were queuing up in front of water trucks moving from one neighborhood to another in the city. The main reservoir supplying the city with drinkable water has been flooded.

Just a few hundred kilometers over the border, Russia's Kurgan, a region of 800,000 people at the confluence of the Ural mountains and Siberia, was grappling with flooding and rising water levels in the Tobol River, another tributary of the Irtysh.

Water levels rose to 6.31 meters (over 20 ft) in the main city, Kurgan. Governor Vadim Shumkov said there was almost a "sea" of water approaching.

"The city of Kurgan itself will be next," Shumkov said. "The flow of the Tobol is accelerating. The water level in it is constantly rising."

"Fellow countrymen, leave the flooded areas immediately."

Shumkov warned that flooding would begin shortly on the right bank of the Tobol, which slices the region south to north, and the low part of its left bank.

Floods were also inundating homes in the Tomsk region in the southwestern part of Siberia, regional officials said on Telegram.

Almost 140 houses near the city of Tomsk, which is the regional administrative center, were under water on Monday and 84 people were evacuated.

The Ob-Irtysh river system is the world's seventh largest, after the Yellow River, the Yenisei, the Mississippi, the Yangtze, the Amazon and the Nile.



Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
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Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo

Sweden's domestic security agency on Thursday accused Iran of using established criminal networks in Sweden as a proxy to target Israeli or Jewish interests in the Scandinavian country.
The accusations were raised at a news conference by Daniel Stenling, the head of the SAPO agency's counterespionage unit, following a series of events earlier this year.
In late January, the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm was sealed off after what was then described as “a dangerous object” was found on the grounds of the diplomatic mission in an eastern Stockholm neighborhood. Swedish media said the object was a hand grenade.
The embassy was not evacuated and the object was eventually destroyed. No arrests were made and authorities did not say what was found. On May 17, gunshots were heard near the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm and the area was cordoned off. No one was arrested.
According to The Associated Press, Stenling said, without offering specifics or evidence to back up his assertion, that the agency "can establish that criminal networks in Sweden are used as a proxy by Iran.”
“It is very much about planning and attempts to carry out attacks against Israeli and Jewish interests, goals and activities in Sweden," he said and added that the agency sees "connections between criminal individuals in the criminal networks and individuals who are connected to the Iranian security services.”
Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer and Hampus Nygårds, deputy head of the Swedish police's National Operations Department, were also at the online news conference with Stenling.
“We see this connection between the Iranian intelligence services, the security services and precisely criminals in the criminal networks in Sweden," Stenling said. “We see that connection and it also means that we need to work much more internationally to get to the crimes and be able to prevent them.”
Stenling and the others made no mention of the recent incidents connected to the Israel Embassy and stopped short of naming any criminal groups or suspects.
Sweden has grappled with gang violence for years and criminal gangs often recruit teenagers in socially disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods to carry out hits.
By May 15, police have recorded 85 shootings so far this year, including 12 fatal shootings. Last year, 53 people were killed and 109 were wounded in a total of 363 shootings.