The Telegraph 2024-04-02 16:00:40


Live Israeli ambassador summoned after three Britons killed

The Foreign Office has summoned the Israeli ambassador after three Britons were among seven aid workers killed in an Israeli strike on Gaza, The Telegraph can reveal.

Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s ambassador to the UK, was called in to meet Andrew Mitchell, the foreign minister, in the Foreign Office on Tuesday after the news broke.

The meeting was around half an hour long. The UK message is understood to have been similar to the comments issued publicly about the importance of an urgent investigation.

Taking the unusual step of summoning the Israeli ambassador is being seen within Whitehall as a reflection of how seriously the UK is taking the incident.

Lord Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, has also cut short his planned Easter break and will return to the Foreign Office today before travelling to a Nato summit in Brussels which starts tomorrow.

Follow below for the latest updates.

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Team GB vows to stick with traditional Union flag on 2024 Olympic kit after merchandise backlash

The British Olympic Association has vowed to stick with tradition and not mess with the classic red, white and blue Union flag on its 2024 Olympic kit following a backlash over the sale of ‘Union Jack’ merchandise in different colour shades…

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Parents won’t commit to work because of Labour uncertainty on childcare, says Gillian Keegan

Labour’s failure to commit to keeping the Tories’ childcare expansion plans is stopping some parents getting back into work, the Education Secretary has claimed…

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Pupil, 12, kills child in Finland school shooting

A 12-year-old armed with a gun killed one child and injured two others at a school in Finland early on Tuesday, police said.

Local authorities said the shooter had been detained and the victims taken to hospital. One child died and two others were seriously injured, a police spokesman added. Both of the injured children were 12-years-old.

Officers were called to the shooting at the Viertola school in Vantaa, a suburb on the outskirts of the capital Helsinki, at around 9am local time.

Ilkka Koskimäki, the chief of police of the East Uusimaa Police Department, confirmed the fatality at a news conference after the incident.

Seppo Kolehmainen, a police chief, said: “Unfortunately, school shootings of various types are a weekly occurrence. The police often have to secure the school day with a visible presence in educational institutions.”

He added: “Together we thought that as a society we had learnt from previous school shootings. A day like this should not have happened.”

Police said the attacker possessed a handgun that belonged to a close relative, which was properly licensed. The suspect has been charged with premeditated murder and attempted murder, the police said. 

“If you go to school with a weapon, you can see that there is some planning,” said Kimmo Hyvärinen, a detective inspector with the East Uusimaa police. 

Officers added that the suspect was being held and is yet to be questioned.

The primary school has about 800 students, from grades one to nine, and 90 staff, Finland’s YLE broadcaster reported.

Nearby, the school also holds Swedish language courses, disability teaching and polyclinic classes for middle school-aged students. “The immediate danger is over,” Sari Laasila, the the school’s principal, told Reuters.

Heavily armed police arrived at the school in several cars, while two ambulances left the scene at around 10am local time, according to witnesses.

Some of the children reportedly sought shelter during the attacks, while others were in contact with their parents via mobile phones and said they saw what had happened. Witnesses said the shooting happened in a single classroom, Finland’s HS newspaper reported.

Finnish police said in a statement: “All those involved in the shooting incident are minors… Police are at the scene investigating the incident. Bystanders are asked to stay away from the area and indoors. The door should not be opened to strangers.”

The Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat said the suspect was caught in the Helsinki area later on Tuesday.

Petteri Orpo, the Finnish prime minister, called the shooting “deeply shocking”.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, he said: “The shooting scene in Vantaa deeply shocks. My thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones and the other students and staff of Viertola school.

“We are following the situation closely and are waiting for the authorities to update [us].”

In 2007, an 18-year-old student shot dead seven pupils and his head teacher in the town of Tuusula.

A year later, another student killed nine pupils and a teacher in the town of Kauhajoki.

Following the school shootings, the Finnish government announced a review of its gun laws, raising the minimum age required to obtain a firearms licence from 18 to 20 years, and introducing an aptitude and suitability test for the permits.

But the  country, which has a population of about 5.5 million, has about 430,000 licensed gun owners, mostly for hunting.

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Sunak confident he can ‘stop the boats’ despite record crossings

Rishi Sunak is still confident he can deliver on his pledge to “stop the boats” despite a record start to 2024 for migrant Channel crossings, Downing Street said. 

Small boat arrivals passed 5,000 by the end of March for the first time ever this year despite Mr Sunak’s pledge, made in January 2023, to stop the crossings. 

Asked whether the Prime Minister was still confident of meeting his pledge, a No 10 spokeswoman said: “Yes, as we have said before the Easter recess, the most important thing that we can do to fundamentally break the model of the criminal gangs is to get our Rwanda partnership up and running.

“So, we want to see that happen and get flights off the ground, and we know the impact that a successful deterrent can have, but at the same time we also continue to work with partners to build on the progress that we saw last year with reduction by a third on the previous year.”

The Government’s flagship Rwanda Bill, which it hopes will pave the way for deportation flights to finally take off, is nearing the end of its passage through Parliament. Ministers want flights to start this spring. 

The total number of arrivals so far in 2024 is up by almost a third on the same point in 2023, when 3,793 migrants had reached the UK in small boats by March 31.

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Watch: Moment woman steals gun from security guard and opens fire

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Number of patients waiting four weeks to see GP soars all over England

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