In Italy, Mount Etna erupted, and flights at Catania airport were briefly halted.

In Italy, Mount Etna erupted, and flights at Catania airport were briefly halted.

Flights gradually resumed on Friday, July 5, at Catania airport in Sicily, after a brief stoppage due to the eruption of Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe, which engulfed the airspace with ash. The ash-covered runway has been cleared, allowing departures from the airport to resume. Arrivals are currently limited to two aircraft per hour, said the airport management company VX.

Mount Etna, which stands at 3,324 metres (11,000 feet), has erupted frequently in recent years. In recent days, the central crater has been spewing lava flows and ash clouds that have affected Catania airport, located below. The National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) said on Thursday that ash plumes had reached a height of 4.5 kilometres (2.8 miles).

Images posted on social media on Friday showed streets in central Catania covered in thick layers of black ash, causing traffic delays.

Italian authorities have also issued a red alert for another volcano, Stromboli, which dominates the island of the same name in the Aeolian Archipelago (north of Sicily), and whose eruption has sent large clouds of ash into the sky. This volcano, with a peak of 920 metres and a base 2,000 metres below sea level, is one of the few in the world that shows almost continuous activity, according to INGV.

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