Fire Breaks Out after Accident at Gas Pipeline in Crimea

File photo: Smoke rises following an alleged drone attack in Sevastopol, Crimea in 2023. (Reuters)
File photo: Smoke rises following an alleged drone attack in Sevastopol, Crimea in 2023. (Reuters)
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Fire Breaks Out after Accident at Gas Pipeline in Crimea

File photo: Smoke rises following an alleged drone attack in Sevastopol, Crimea in 2023. (Reuters)
File photo: Smoke rises following an alleged drone attack in Sevastopol, Crimea in 2023. (Reuters)

A fire broke out late Saturday after an accident at a gas pipeline near the village of Vinogradnoye in Moscow-annexed Crimea, spreading to nearby forest and cutting gas to the resort town of Alushta and more than a dozen settlements, Russian officials said.
"There is no threat to the populated area," Russia's emergency ministry said early on Sunday on the Telegram messaging app.
Russia-installed officials of the Crimean Peninsula reported late on Saturday on Telegram that gas supplies were cut to Alushta, a city of around 30,000 people, and 14 nearby settlements.
"After the gas in the pipes completely burns out, restoration work will begin," the Russian-installed administration of Crimea said on Telegram.
Russian agencies reported, citing officials, that there were no injuries. The fire was consuming an area of about 1,500 square meters (16,000 square feet), TASS state news agency reported.
It was not immediately clear what accident caused the fire.



Man Who Attacked Author Salman Rushdie Charged with Supporting Hezbollah

Hadi Matar, charged with stabbing author Salman Rushdie, listens during an arraignment in the Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville, N.Y., Aug. 18, 2022. (AP)
Hadi Matar, charged with stabbing author Salman Rushdie, listens during an arraignment in the Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville, N.Y., Aug. 18, 2022. (AP)
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Man Who Attacked Author Salman Rushdie Charged with Supporting Hezbollah

Hadi Matar, charged with stabbing author Salman Rushdie, listens during an arraignment in the Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville, N.Y., Aug. 18, 2022. (AP)
Hadi Matar, charged with stabbing author Salman Rushdie, listens during an arraignment in the Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville, N.Y., Aug. 18, 2022. (AP)

A man who severely injured author Salman Rushdie in a frenzied knife attack in western New York faces a new charge that he supported a terrorist group.

An indictment unsealed in US District Court in Buffalo on Wednesday charges Hadi Matar with providing material support to Hezbollah, the armed group based in Lebanon and backed by Iran. The indictment didn't detail what evidence linked Matar to the group.

The federal charge comes after Matar earlier this month rejected an offer by state prosecutors to recommend a shorter prison sentence if he agreed to plead guilty in Chautauqua County Court, where he is charged with attempted murder and assault. The agreement also would have required him to plead guilty to a federal terrorism-related charge, which hadn't been filed yet at the time.

Instead, both cases will now proceed to trial separately. Jury selection in the state case is set for Oct. 15.

Matar's lawyer, Nathaniel Barone, didn't immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Matar, 26, has been held without bail since the 2022 attack, during which he stabbed Rushdie more than a dozen times as the acclaimed writer was onstage about to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution. Knife wounds blinded Rushdie in one eye. The event moderator, Henry Reese, was also wounded.

Rushdie detailed the attack and his long and painful recovery in a memoir published in April.

The author spent years in hiding after Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa, or edict, in 1989 calling for Rushdie's death over his novel “The Satanic Verses.” Khomeini considered the book blasphemous. Rushdie reemerged into the public the late 1990s.

Matar was born in the US but holds dual citizenship in Lebanon, where his parents were born. He lived in New Jersey prior to the attack. His mother has said that her son became withdrawn and moody after he visited his father in Lebanon in 2018.

The attack raised questions about whether Rushdie had gotten proper security protection, given that he is still the subject of death threats. A state police trooper and county sheriff's deputy had been assigned to the lecture.

In 1991, a Japanese translator of “The Satanic Verses” was stabbed to death. An Italian translator survived a knife attack the same year. In 1993, the book’s Norwegian publisher was shot three times but survived.

The investigation into Rushdie's stabbing focused partly on whether Matar had been acting alone or in concert with militant or religious groups.