4 teens hospitalized after being shot at graduation party

Four teenagers were hospitalized in Pennsylvania over the weekend after a gunman opened fire at graduation party.

The teens were enjoying a backyard celebration at a home in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, on Saturday when shots rang out, according to police.

Chaos ensued as the crowd of about 125 attempted to flee, the Allegheny County Police Department said. Thankfully, there were no fatalities, but the department said three teen girls and one boy were wounded.

PHOTO: Police said four teens were shot during a graduation party in Pennsylvania on July, 20, 2019.
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Police said four teens were shot during a graduation party in Pennsylvania on July, 20, 2019.

The teens, all between the ages of 14 and 18, sustained multiple gunshot wounds, and were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment, police said. They were listed in stable condition as of Sunday evening.

The motive for the shooting remains unclear and there were no arrests made.

“When the shooting began, most of the people fled and did not return. County Police is asking anyone who was at the party to contact the department via its Tipline,” the department said. “The motive for the shooting is unknown and no suspects have been identified.”

8 injured after lightning strike at beach

Lightning struck at a Florida beach on Sunday, leaving eight people injured, police said.

The victims were struck at Clearwater Beach near Tampa on Sunday afternoon, according to the Clearwater Police Department.

The department said one person was hit by the strike directly and rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition. Another person was treated for burns and three others were hospitalized as a precaution.

PHOTO: Clearwater Beach, Fla., is pictured in this image made from video on July 21, 2019.
WFTS

Clearwater Beach, Fla., is pictured in this image made from video on July 21, 2019.

At least three others were injured, but refused treatment at the scene. Lightning was also blamed for at least three fires in the area on Saturday.

The Clearwater Fire and Rescue said it’s common for people to stay on the beach to watch the storms pass, but it’s dangerous.

“Beachgoers should take cover and go to a safe place when lightning and thunder are present. As a reminder, Clearwater Fire and Rescue uses the phrase: when you hear the roar, go indoor,” the fire department told ABC affiliate WFTS.

PHOTO: Police respond to reports of injuries following a lightning strike at Clearwater Beach, Fla., July 21, 2019.
WFTS

Police respond to reports of injuries following a lightning strike at Clearwater Beach, Fla., July 21, 2019.

Storms moving through the Midwest following days of record heat sparked several lightning storms. The volatile weather resulted in two others being struck by lightning in Pennsylvania and Illinois on Sunday.

A 16-year-old boy was struck by lightning at a soccer tournament in Aurora, Illinois, according to Chicago ABC station WLS. The boy remained conscious and was taken to a local hospital.

A boy was also struck by lightning in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Sunday afternoon. The boy was taken to the hospital in unknown condition, according to Philadelphia ABC station WPVI.

ABC News’ Greg Bradbury contributed to this report.

Start Here: Iran seizes British tanker and Puerto Rico gov will not seek reelection

It’s Monday, July 22, 2019. Let’s start here.

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1. Tensions rising

“If you obey you will be safe.”

New video and audio has emerged of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard giving orders to the crew of a British-flagged oil tanker as masked Iranian commandos seized the ship in the Strait of Hormuz last week.

Iranian officials said the British vessel violated international maritime laws. The U.K. claimed the incident was retaliation for the British seizure of an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar less than a month ago after officials said Iran violated European Union sanctions by trying to ship oil to Syria.

It’s the latest escalation of tensions with Iran, which the U.S. and its allies are trying to navigate, according to ABC News’ Elizabeth McLaughlin on “Start Here,” “What’s really key in what you’re hearing from U.S. officials time and time again is how do we calm the tensions and how do we ensure the security of these transits in and out of the Strait of Hormuz.”

2. Puerto Rico protests

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said he will not seek reelection next year as nearly a million people are expected to take to the streets Monday, demanding his resignation.

Thousands of Puerto Ricans demonstrated outside of the governor’s mansion over the weekend amid a firestorm over leaked offensive comments he made in a group chat with members of his inner circle, which included sexist and homophobic language as well as jokes about the victims of Hurricane Maria.

ABC News’ Victor Oquendo was with protesters in the streets of San Juan as the governor made his announcement in a Facebook video on Sunday, “Those chants, ‘Ricky renuncia,’ Ricky resign, they built up once again. It didn’t take long for me to find people on every corner saying it’s simply not enough.”

PHOTO: Protesters demonstrate against Ricardo Rossello, the Governor of Puerto Rico, near police that were manning a barricade set up along a street leading to the governors mansion on July 20, 2019, in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Protesters demonstrate against Ricardo Rossello, the Governor of Puerto Rico, near police that were manning a barricade set up along a street leading to the governor’s mansion on July 20, 2019, in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

3. Boris and Brexit

The replacement for outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May will take office on Wednesday as the U.K. is set to leave the European Union in just a few months.

Former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is likely to be named as the next prime minister, according to ABC News Foreign Editor Marcus Wilford, and while the Brexit champion may be the Conservative Party’s choice, he could face trouble from other members once he’s in office.

“One of the first things that may happen once he’s elected is that the rest of Parliament rallies against him and tries to bring him down with a general election,” Wilford tells “Start Here.”

PHOTO: Conservative MP and leadership contender Boris Johnson takes part in a Conservative Party Hustings event in Perth, Scotland, July 5, 2019.
Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images

Conservative MP and leadership contender Boris Johnson takes part in a Conservative Party Hustings event in Perth, Scotland, July 5, 2019.

4. ‘Endgame’ is the beginning

It was a big weekend for the Marvel Cinematic Universe: “Avengers: Endgame” surpassed “Avatar” to become the highest-grossing film of all time and a vast lineup of films and shows were announced at San Diego Comic-Con.

Between Marvel’s first Asian superhero movie, “Shang-Chi,” actress Natalie Portman as a female Thor, and Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali as the vampire hunter Blade, the studio is entering a new era of storytelling with diversity and representation, says Inverse Senior Entertainment Writer Eric Francisco.

“If you promise people that, ‘Hey, they can see themselves as superheroes on the big screen,’ of course people are going to shell out dollars and they’re going to want to see these movies,” he says.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News and Marvel Studios.

PHOTO: Simu Liu of Marvel Studios Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings at the San Diego Comic-Con International 2019 Marvel Studios Panel, July 20, 2019.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Simu Liu of Marvel Studios’ “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” at the San Diego Comic-Con International 2019 Marvel Studios Panel, July 20, 2019.

“Start Here,” ABC News’ flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day’s top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.

Elsewhere:

‘When you hear the roar, go indoors’: Eight people were injured in a lightning strike on a Florida beach on Sunday.

‘Freak accident’ tragedy: A father of six children died over the weekend when he broke his neck after being hit by a wave in North Carolina.

‘Aggressively shadowed’: While the focus has been on Iran-U.S. confrontations in the Middle East, the military released heart-stopping video of a Venezuelan fighter jet shadowing a U.S. plane in an act U.S. Southern Command called “unprofessional.”

From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:

Bulletpoint: Beto O’Rourke Doesn’t Have A Base: There are plenty of young voters, white voters and moderate voters in the Democratic electorate. But there aren’t that many who are young and white and moderate.

Doff your cap:

OK, so sometimes it’s easy to get a little tired of the British royal family. The “will they” and “won’t they” of glorified celebrities, in a country the U.S. ditched 250 years ago, is easy to bash.

But then you see a picture of Prince George!

The eldest child of Prince Williams and Duchess Kate celebrates his 6th birthday today, and the palace shared some photos snapped by his mom. Or is that mum?

As heat wave ends, severe storms roll into Mid-Atlantic, Northeast

The heat wave has ended in the Midwest and is ending Monday morning in the Northeast as cooler air moves in from the west.

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Some of the hottest temperatures this weekend included 100 degrees Sunday at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport, which tied a record; 99 degrees in Bridgeport, Connecticut, which broke Sunday’s record; and 97 degrees Saturday in Manchester, New Hampshire, also a record.

A slow-moving frontal boundary continues to bring cooler weather to the Great Lakes and Midwest on Monday morning, where the temperature in Chicago is in the 60s — the coolest it has felt in the last 10 days.

PHOTO: Temperatures are much cooler in the Midwest on Monday, with relief coming to the Northeast later in the day.
ABC News

Temperatures are much cooler in the Midwest on Monday, with relief coming to the Northeast later in the day.

Strong storms are bringing heavy rain, flooding and damaging winds along this frontal boundary.

Over the weekend, hundreds of thousands of people were left without power in the Great Lakes, where winds gusted to 86 mph in Wisconsin on Saturday. There were five reported tornadoes in Wisconsin, as well.

In western Michigan, up to 13.5 inches of rain fell, which could be a state record if verified.

Flood alerts have been issued Monday morning for 10 states from Tennessee to New York due to heavy rain expected Monday afternoon and evening.

PHOTO: Flash flood watches are in place from eastern Tennessee and Kentucky up to the New York City area.
ABC News

Flash flood watches are in place from eastern Tennessee and Kentucky up to the New York City area.

Some areas could see up to 4 inches of rain in short period of time, which could cause flash flooding.

PHOTO: Heavy rainfall in the Mid-Atlantic could cause flash flooding in some spots.
ABC News

Heavy rainfall in the Mid-Atlantic could cause flash flooding in some spots.

The severe weather forecast Monday afternoon and evening in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast includes damaging winds, hail and even a small chance for tornadoes from Washington, D.C., to New York City and into Providence, Rhode Island.

PHOTO: Strong winds and large hail are possible from the Mid-Atlantic all the way up to Rhode Island on Monday.
ABC News

Strong winds and large hail are possible from the Mid-Atlantic all the way up to Rhode Island on Monday.

Records fall as last day of heat wave bakes Midwest, East Coast

Ninety-four million people in parts of 23 states remain under excessive heat warnings and heat advisories on Sunday as one last day of scorching temperatures hits the Midwest and East Coast.

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Sunday is the last day of oppressive heat, with many places in the Upper Midwest already feeling cooler Sunday morning after heat indices of 115 to 120 on Friday and Saturday. That seasonably cool air will make its way east this week.

JFK International Airport and Atlantic City, New Jersey, both set daily record highs at 99 degrees Saturday, but most records being set are for the warm overnight temperatures. New York City and Boston are just two of many cities that set or tied record-high minimum temperatures, with temperatures failing to drop below 80 degrees.

PHOTO: Excessive heat warnings are in place from North Carolina to Massachusetts and Kansas to Ohio on Sunday.
ABC News

Excessive heat warnings are in place from North Carolina to Massachusetts and Kansas to Ohio on Sunday.

Heat indices far surpassed the triple-digit mark across the eastern U.S. Saturday:

Hartford, Connecticut: 110 degrees; actual high 95

Washington, D.C.: 108 degrees; actual high 97

Kansas City, Missouri: 109 degrees; actual high 98

Baltimore: 107 degrees; actual high 100

Boston: 107 degrees; actual high 97

Chicago: 107 degrees; actual high 95

PHOTO: Overnight heat indices were still above 90 degrees from Washington, D.C., to New York City.
ABC News

Overnight heat indices were still above 90 degrees from Washington, D.C., to New York City.

Heat index values continued to feel higher than 90 degrees overnight from Norfolk, Virginia, to Boston.

The excessive heat warnings remain in effect for Sunday, with heat indices reaching 110 degrees.

PHOTO: The heat index will be above 100 degrees from Charleston, S.C., to Boston on Sunday.
ABC News

The heat index will be above 100 degrees from Charleston, S.C., to Boston on Sunday.

Actual temperatures will stay in the 90s for most of the East Coast — often in the upper reaches.

Boston has another chance of hitting 99 on Sunday — the hottest temperature since 2013.

Washington, D.C., could also hit 100 degrees for the first time since 2016.

PHOTO: After one more day of heat, the temperatures will cool down across the Midwest and East Coast on Monday.
ABC News

After one more day of heat, the temperatures will cool down across the Midwest and East Coast on Monday.

The relief is finally making its way east, though.

It’s already significantly cooler across the Great Lakes and Midwest.

Chicago; Minneapolis; Des Moines, Iowa; and Detroit felt like 105 to 119 degrees. The high temperatures Sunday are in the 70s and low 80s.

Those temperatures will reach the East Coast early this week and there will be a nice break from the heat and humidity with below-average temperatures.

More severe weather possible

Several rounds of severe storms across the Midwest and Great Lakes have knocked out power to hundreds of thousands and caused widespread damage. There were over 430,000 customers without power Sunday morning across Wisconsin and Michigan.

There were more than 240 storm reports just from Saturday, and more than 450 storm reports between Friday and Saturday.

Winds gusted 70 to 80 mph and brought down numerous tree limbs, and thousands of power lines from South Dakota to Minnesota, and in Wisconsin and Michigan.

PHOTO: Severe weather is possible in northern Missouri and eastern Kansas on Sunday.
ABC News

Severe weather is possible in northern Missouri and eastern Kansas on Sunday.

The severe weather will be focused around Missouri and Kansas again on Sunday. The main threat again is damaging winds, along with hail and also an isolated tornado.

Storms will be scattered from Missouri to Pennsylvania, but have the potential to be severe at times with damaging winds.

Venezuelan fighter aggressively shadowed US reconnaissance plane over Caribbean Sea

A Venezuelan Su-30 fighter plane “aggressively shadowed” a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft operating over the Caribbean Sea, according to U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), in a move the U.S. is calling “unprofessional.”

In a series of tweets on Sunday, SOUTHCOM said the Venezuelan fighter, which took off from an airfield 200 miles east of Caracas on Friday, “‘aggressively shadowed’ a U.S. EP-3 at an unsafe distance…jeopardizing the crew and aircraft.”

“The EP-3 was performing a multi-nationally recognized and approved mission in international airspace” over the Caribbean Sea, SOUTHCOM added.

PHOTO: Image of a Venezuela SU-30 Flanker as it aggressively shadowed a U.S. EP-3 Aries II at an unsafe distance in international airspace over the Caribbean Sea on July 19, 2019, jeopardizing the crew and aircraft.
Michael Wimbish/U.S. Southern Command

Image of a Venezuela SU-30 Flanker as it aggressively shadowed a U.S. EP-3 Aries II at an unsafe distance in international airspace over the Caribbean Sea on July 19, 2019, jeopardizing the crew and aircraft.

Venezuela’s defense minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said on Saturday that the U.S. aircraft entered a flight region controlled by Venezuela without reporting necessary information, breaking with international regulations.

Venezuela has purchased military aircraft, including the Su-30, from Russia. U.S. officials have previously accused Moscow of propping up Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro amid the ongoing economic and humanitarian crisis there.

SOUTHCOM said the action of the Venezuelan fighter on Friday “demonstrates Russia’s irresponsible military support to Maduro’s illegitimate regime and underscores Maduro’s recklessness and irresponsible behavior, which undermines international rule of law and efforts to counter illicit trafficking.”

These types of interactions between U.S. and Venezuelan aircraft are far less common than those between U.S. and Russian aircraft. While most intercepts are safe and professional interactions, the U.S. military will highlight those it deems unsafe or unprofessional.

Last month, a U.S. P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft experienced an “unsafe” and “irresponsible” intercept by a Russian fighter jet over international waters, the U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet said.

PHOTO: Image of a Venezuela SU-30 Flanker as it aggressively shadowed a U.S. EP-3 Aries II at an unsafe distance in international airspace over the Caribbean Sea on July 19, 2019, jeopardizing the crew and aircraft.
Michael Wimbish/U.S. Southern Command

Image of a Venezuela SU-30 Flanker as it aggressively shadowed a U.S. EP-3 Aries II at an unsafe distance in international airspace over the Caribbean Sea on July 19, 2019, jeopardizing the crew and aircraft.

The P-8A was intercepted by a Russian SU-35 “three times over the course of 175 minutes” over the Mediterranean Sea, the Sixth Fleet said. While “the first and third interactions were deemed safe,” the second “was determined to be unsafe due to the SU-35 conducting a high-speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put our pilots and crew at risk.”

ABC’s Esther Castillejo contributed to this report.

Man dies in freak accident after wave causes him to break his neck, wife says

A North Carolina man died in a “freak accident” after rough waters in the ocean caused him to break his neck, according to his family.

Lee Dingle, 37, was playing in shallow waters with his children on Oak Island in North Carolina on Friday when an “intense” wave crashed over him, slamming him into the sand, his wife, Shannon Dingle, wrote on Twitter.

The swelling in his throat was so severe that it cut off oxygen to his brain, according to a GoFundMe campaign set up for the family. He leaves behind his wife and six children.

“Some heroes – including our kids – tried to save him, but it wouldn’t have mattered what they did,” Shannon Dingle tweeted. “His body couldn’t recover from the initial injury.”

PHOTO: Oak Island near Raleigh, N.C., is pictured in this undated image from Google.
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Oak Island near Raleigh, N.C., is pictured in this undated image from Google.

The couple met when Lee Dingle was 19 and Shannon Dingle was 18, she wrote.

“I wasn’t supposed to be saying goodbye at 37,” she posted to Twitter. “I don’t know how to be a grown up without him, but I’ll learn. I just wish I didn’t have to.”

Family friend April Schweitzer described Lee Dingle as an attentive father to ABC Raleigh affiliate WTVD.

“How he saw each child for who they were uniquely and just supported them in that and encouraged them and was always there for them,” she said. “But I feel like anyone who knew him was a better person from their interactions with him.”

The Archibald Project, the organization that documented the Dingles’ adoption of one of their children, Zoe, wrote on Facebook that it is “grieved and saddened to share the tragic passing of a beautiful man and father.”

Four of the Dingles’ children are adopted — three are siblings from Uganda, and Zoe, who has cerebral palsy, is from Taiwan, according to the organization, which advocates for orphans worldwide.

The Dingles first appeared on WTVD in 2016 after a local medical supply business donated a lift for Zoe’s electric wheelchair.

Lee Dingle had just been promoted to partner of Atlas Engineering, where he had worked for 15 years, WTVD reported.

White man denies saying Go back where you came from

A white man has admitted cursing at a pregnant black Georgia lawmaker for taking too many items into a supermarket express lane but denies telling her, “go back where you came from.”

Eric Sparkes showed up during a WSB-TV interview with Rep. Erica Thomas of Austell on Saturday, outside the Atlanta-area Publix store where the incident occurred , the station reported .

He denied making any racially charged comment, adding, “I am Cuban.”

Thomas confronted Sparkes in front of reporters and said he had “degraded and berated” her. She has told The Associated Press she notified police and will seek store video.

In a tearful Facebook video posted Friday, Thomas said she was in the express line because she is nine months pregnant and cannot stand for long. Thomas’ video went viral as the hashtag #IStandwithErica trended on Twitter.

On Saturday, Sparkes told reporters he called her a vulgarity but did not say anything racial.

Thomas said Sparkes was just trying to make himself look better.

Sparkes said he’s a Democrat and was being unjustly attacked for political purposes.

Thomas said Friday that she never identified herself to Sparkes as a public official. She said she was so taken aback by his actions that she didn’t think to try to record them.

PHOTO: In this May 7, 2019, file photo, Rep. Erica Thomas speaks during a news conference in Atlanta.
Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

In this May 7, 2019, file photo, Rep. Erica Thomas speaks during a news conference in Atlanta.

In a statement, Publix has said the company is “cooperating with local law enforcement as they look into the matter.”

The incident came days after President Donald Trump tweeted that four congresswomen of color, including U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, should go back to the “broken and crime infested” countries they came from.

In her video, Thomas alluded to those attacks and accused the president of inciting hate.

During the television interview, she said Sparkes “needs to be held accountable because people can’t just go out and berate pregnant women.”

———

Information from: WSB-TV, http://www.wsbtv.com/index.html

White supremacy could be issue that ends this country, presidential candidate says

All of the Democratic presidential candidates have condemned Donald Trump’s racist comments directed at four congresswomen last week, and the chants of “send her back” directed at Rep. Ilhan Omar at a rally a day later, but Pete Buttigieg took it a step further on Saturday.

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Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was stumping in Iowa over the weekend, where he told ABC News that the issue of white supremacy — an accusation often lobbed at Trump by the left — “could be the lurking issue that ends this country.”

The mayor said the current climate could escalate, going as far as to mention the Civil War.

“That is the only issue that almost ended this country. … We’ve had a lot challenges in this country, but the one that actually almost ended this country in the Civil War was white supremacy,” Buttigieg said. “It could be the lurking issue that ends this country in the future, if we don’t wrangle it down in our time.”

PHOTO: In this July 12, 2019 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg campaigns at the Revolution Taproom & Grill, in Rochester, N.H.
AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

In this July 12, 2019 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg campaigns at the Revolution Taproom & Grill, in Rochester, N.H.

The number of hate groups as been on the rise under Trump, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The nonprofit, which tracks hate groups, including white nationalist organizations, released a report this spring saying groups have increased by 30% in the past four years.

“Amid the era of Trump, hate groups have increased once again, rising 30 percent over the past four years,” the report says. “And last year marked the fourth year in a row that hate group numbers increased after a short period of decline. In the previous four-year period, the number of groups fell by 23 percent.”

Buttigieg has dealt with issues of race throughout his campaign, especially in recent weeks after the shooting of a black man by a white police officer in his hometown of South Bend. He even briefly left the campaign trail to return home and address the issue. Buttigieg was greeted by jeers from protesters at a press conference and public forum about the shooting last month.

The officer has remained on paid leave, sparking a petition by residents to get him suspended from the force. Buttigieg has said he does not have the power as mayor to make that decision. Only the Board of Public Safety — comprised of five civilians appointed by the mayor — can suspend or fire an officer involved in a shooting, he told “Nightline” earlier this month.

But Buttigieg has been honest about needing to create more diversity in the police department in South Bend. He said he has tried to do so, somewhat unsuccessfully, but will continue to push for it.

PHOTO: Democratic presidential hopeful South Bend Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during the AARP and The Des Moines Register Iowa Presidential Candidate Forum on July 20, 2019 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Democratic presidential hopeful South Bend Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during the AARP and The Des Moines Register Iowa Presidential Candidate Forum on July 20, 2019 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

“The key to dealing with racial discussions in the country is honesty,” Buttigieg said Saturday. “And that means honesty about how we got here. It means honesty about what we are up against.”

“Also, in my view, it means treating racial inequality as a specialty issue, as an issue to be talked about with audiences of color only — but as something that frankly white Americans need to take more seriously,” he added.

Buttigieg added further weight to the topic on Saturday, saying, “The entire American experiment is at stake in whether we can manage to deliver prosperity in a way that your race has no bearing on your income, your wealth, your employment opportunities, your experience with criminal justice [and] your ability to vote.”

“We’re just not there and we won’t get there until we acknowledge that replacing a racist historical structure with a more neutral current one is not enough,” he said.

Suspension of flights has nothing to do with Cairo airport: British Airways

British Airways’ abrupt decision to suspend flights to Cairo for seven days is not related to security concerns at the Cairo airport, an official at the airline told ABC News on Sunday.

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“We have no concerns over security at Cairo Airport. The decision is purely related to the airlines,” said Sherif Barsoum, British Airways’ regional director. “The British team that inspected the airport last week found nothing alarming; it was a positive visit.”

The British government issued a travel warning for Egypt on Saturday citing a “heightened risk of terrorism against aviation.” British Airways and German carrier Lufthansa suspended flights to Cairo as a security “precaution.” British Airways flights were suspended for seven days, while Lufthansa flights were scheduled to resume on Sunday.

“There’s a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation,” the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said in a statement on Saturday. “Additional security measures are in place for flights departing from Egypt to the UK. You should co-operate fully with security officials at airports.”

PHOTO: Passengers wait at the British Airways ticket counter in Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va., Jan. 2, 2004.
Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images, FILE

Passengers wait at the British Airways ticket counter in Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va., Jan. 2, 2004.

During a meeting with British Ambassador to Cairo Geoffrey Adams on Sunday, Egyptian aviation minister Younes El Masry said he was “dismayed by the unilateral decision to suspend flights,” insisting that Egypt should have been informed beforehand.

“The British Ambassador apologized to the Minister of Aviation for not informing Egyptian authorities before the decision was issued, stressing that the decision is not related to security measures at Egyptian airports,” a ministry statement read.

The British Foreign Office also warned on Friday against “all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai, due to continuing criminal activity and terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in deaths.”

The Governorate of North Sinai is located in the eastern part of Egypt.

In addition, officials advised Britons against “all but essential travel to the Governorate of South Sinai, except the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier, which includes the airport and the areas of Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq,” by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh, and “to the area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions, excluding the coastal areas between the Nile Delta and Marsa Matruh.”

In 2015, a Russian plane bound for St. Petersburg departing from Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport crashed in a mountainous region of Egypt, killing all 224 people on board. Following the crash, two airlines — Lufthansa and Air France — announced they were avoiding the airspace over the Sinai Peninsula.

In a statement, the British Foreign Office said that approximately 415,000 Britons visited Egypt in 2018, and noted that most visits are trouble-free.

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