BBC 2024-07-07 04:05:34


Air strike on Gaza school kills at least 16 people

By Rushdi Aboualouf and Tom McArthurBBC News
Shock and horror at scene of Gaza blast

At least 16 people have been killed in an Israeli air strike on a school in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials have said.

Dozens more have been injured in the attack on the building which was sheltering thousands of displaced people at Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Video from the scene shows adults and children screaming in a smoke-filled street covered in dust and rubble, as they run to help the wounded.

The Israel Defence Force (IDF) said it struck several “terrorists operating in structures located in the area of Al-Jaouni School”.

Eyewitnesses told the BBC that the attack targeted the upper floors of the school, which is located near a busy market.

The BBC understands that up to 7,000 people were using the building as shelter.

A local source said the target was a room allegedly used by Hamas police. The BBC is unable to verify this claim.

In a statement posted to X – formerly known as Twitter – the IDF confirmed it had hit the school buildings, saying it had taken “numerous steps” to “mitigate the risk of harming civilians, including the use of precise aerial surveillance and additional intelligence”.

Hamas militants were using the location as a “hideout” to carry out attacks against IDF troops, it said.

“Hamas continues to systematically violate international law by exploiting civilian structures and the civilian population as human shields for its terrorist attacks against the State of Israel,” it added.

The incident comes after hopes began to rise in recent days that a deal between Israel and Hamas was on the horizon, following months of false starts.

Many schools and other UN facilities have been used as shelters by the 1.7 million people who have fled their homes during the war, which has lasted almost eight months.

A previous attack in June on another packed UN-run school in Nuseirat killed at least 35 people.

Local journalists told the BBC at the time that a warplane fired two missiles at classrooms on the top floor of the school.

After that attack, Israel’s military said it had “conducted a precise strike on a Hamas compound” in the school and killed many of the 20 to 30 fighters it believed were inside.

Gaza’s Hamas-run Government Media Office denied the claim and accused Israel of carrying out a “horrific massacre”.

The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (Unrwa), which runs the school, described the June incident as “horrific” and said the claim that armed groups might have been inside a shelter was “shocking” but could not be confirmed.

Israel’s war was triggered by Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Israel on 7 October in which Hamas-led gunmen killed about 1,200 people and took 251 others back to Gaza as hostages.

At least 38,098 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza as a result of Israel’s offensive, according to the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry.

Biden’s interview fails to quell Democrats’ concerns about his fitness

By Rachel Looker and Courtney SubramanianBBC News, Washington
Clip of Joe Biden in exclusive interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos

President Joe Biden’s Friday night TV interview does not seem to have quelled an uprising within his own party to end his campaign after a halting debate performance against Donald Trump.

A fifth House Democrat, Angie Craig of Minnesota, joined her colleagues on Saturday in calling for the president to step aside, as reports indicate more could follow soon.

In his rare primetime ABC News interview, Mr Biden dismissed his debate performance as just a “bad episode” and said only the “Lord Almighty” could convince him to end his bid for re-election.

Mr Biden, 81, is spending Saturday at his family home in Delaware before two public events on Sunday.

While no senior members of the party have called on the president to quit, the unease amongst Democrats is palpable.

Some polls show Trump’s lead over Mr Biden widening, and many are concerned about losing the presidency and House seats, along with the Senate majority, if he leads the ticket.

On Saturday, congresswoman Craig, who is running in a competitive district in Minnesota, said she did not believe that the president could “effectively campaign and win against Donald Trump”.

She said while she respects the president’s decades of service, she is calling for Biden to step aside as the Democratic nominee.

“This is not a decision I’ve come to lightly, but there is simply too much at stake to risk a second Donald Trump presidency,” she said in a statement.

Minutes after the ABC interview, Texas congressman Lloyd Doggett, the first House Democrat to call for Biden to drop out of the race, said on CNN that the “need for (Biden) to step aside is more urgent tonight than when I first called for it”.

He said the longer it takes Mr Biden to make a decision to withdraw, the “more difficult for a new person to come on board who can defeat Donald Trump”.

Other House Democrats including congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts called on Mr Biden to withdraw from the race on Friday. They join Arizona lawmaker Raúl Grijalva who called for the president to end his candidacy on Wednesday.

In his interview, Mr Biden declined to take a cognitive test and make the results public to prove he is fit to serve another term.

“I have a cognitive test every single day. Every day I have that test – everything I do [is a test],” he told George Stephanopoulos.

This response did not resonate with Democratic congresswoman Judy Chu of California, who told news outlet Politico that his answer was “unsettling and not particularly convincing, so I will be watching closely every day to see how he is doing, especially in spontaneous situations”.

During the 22-minute primetime interview, Mr Biden rejected suggestions allies may ask him to stand aside, saying “it’s not going to happen”.

Mr Stephanopoulos pressed the president on his capacity to serve another term.

“I don’t think anybody’s more qualified to be president or win this race than me,” Mr Biden said.

Mr Biden, who is due to speak at a rally in Pennsylvania on Sunday, thanked vice-president Kamala Harris for her support during the ABC News interview.

Ms Harris has emerged as a top contender to replace him if he were to step down.

While the rest of the country tuned in to Mr Biden’s interview, Ms Harris was aboard Air Force Two, flying to New Orleans to attend the Essence Festival, an annual black cultural gathering.

Though Ms Harris has spent the last week sticking close to the president – flying from Los Angeles to attend the White House Fourth of July celebration and sitting in Mr Biden’s meeting with governors as well as his call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – aides contend it’s business as usual for the vice-president.

On Saturday, she planned to sit for a moderated conversation at the Essence Festival in the first of a string of July events that appeared to target female black voters, a key constituency for Democrats in November.

Though the event is focused on black culture and celebrating diversity, questions around Mr Biden’s candidacy and the potential for Ms Harris’ ascension to the top of the ticket will be difficult to avoid.

As she continues her busy public schedule, Ms Harris has to maintain the delicate balancing act of projecting unequivocal support for her boss while also tacitly proving she’s up for the job should Mr Biden’s nomination unravel.

It’s a tightrope she’s walked over the last three years as Mr Biden’s deputy, never appearing to overshadow the president or seeming too eager to take his place.

More on President Biden:

We have too many prisoners, says new PM Starmer

By Paul SeddonPolitical reporter • Sam FrancisPolitical reporter

Sir Keir Starmer has said he wants to reduce the number of people going to prison through renewed efforts to cut reoffending.

In his first press conference as prime minister, Sir Keir said too many people found themselves back in jail “relatively quickly” after being sent there.

He added that intervening to prevent young people committing knife crime would be an early priority for his new government.

But he said there would be no “overnight solution” to prison overcrowding, adding: “We’ve got too many prisoners, not enough prisons.”

It comes after he appointed a businessman as his prisons minister who has previously said only a third of prisoners should be there.

James Timpson, boss of the shoe repair chain which has a policy of recruiting ex-offenders, said in an interview with Channel 4 earlier this year that “we’re addicted to punishment”.

Labour, which won a landslide general election victory on Thursday, has promised to review sentencing after regaining office for the first time since 2010.

It has also inherited a ballooning crisis in Britain’s jails, and has already committed to keeping the previous Conservative government’s early release scheme in place to ease current levels of overcrowding.

Last week the Prison Governors’ Association, which represents 95% of prison governors in England and Wales, warned that jails were due to run out of space within days.

Tory ex-justice secretary Alex Chalk first announced plans to release prisoners early in October 2023.

Mr Chalk, who lost his seat to the Lib Dems in the general election, told MPs at the time the “prison population is greater than it has ever been” and the UK “must use prison better”.

However, he added: “We must do whatever it takes to always ensure there are always enough prison places to lock up the most dangerous offenders to keep the British public safe.”

Details of Labour’s review are yet to be unveiled, but Mr Timpson’s appointment has offered an early signal that a change of approach may be on the cards in this area.

Sir Keir has appointed him a member of the House of Lords, allowing him to take up a post as prisons minister at the Ministry of Justice.

The businessman told a Channel 4 podcast in February that prison was a “disaster” for around a third of prisoners, and another third “probably shouldn’t be there”.

He said too many people being in prison for “far too long” was an example of “evidence being ignored because there is this sentiment around punish and punish”.

“We’re addicted to sentencing, we’re addicted to punishment,” he added.

Prison ‘escalator’

Asked about his comments at a Downing Street press conference, Sir Keir did not offer a view on whether he agreed with those estimates.

But he added: “We do need to be clear about the way in which we use prisons.

“For so many people [who] come out of prison, they’re back in prison relatively quickly afterwards.

“That is a massive problem that we have in this country, that we do need to break.”

He said his party wanted to cut knife crime in particular, and cited his plan to set up a network of “youth hubs”.

Sir Keir, a former lawyer, added: “I’ve sat in the back of I don’t know how many criminal courts and watched people processed through the system on an escalator to go into prison.

“I’ve often reflected that many of them could have been taken out of that system earlier if they’d had support”.

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Labour says it wants to create 20,000 prison places by enabling ministers to override local councils on planning decisions.

But it also plans to keep in place the scheme implemented by the last government under which some lower-level offenders can be released up to 70 days early.

Sir Keir said Conservative ministers had created a “mess” by failing to build enough prisons and mismanaging the prisons budget.

Defending his decision to keep the early-release scheme in place, he added: “We don’t have the prisons we need, and I can’t build a prison within 24 hours.”

The latest official figures, published on Friday, put the prison population of England and Wales at 87,453 out of a “useable operational capacity” of 88,864.

The SNP-run Scottish government, responsible for prisons in Scotland, plans to release between 500 and 550 inmates in the coming months.

It comes as Sir Keir convened the first Labour cabinet meeting in 14 years, telling his top team he expects them to hold themselves and their departments to the “highest standards of integrity and honesty”.

A Downing Street readout from the meeting said the prime minister told ministers “the whole country was looking to the government to deliver on their priorities”.

Following the cabinet, Sir Keir was grilled by journalists at his first press conference as PM.

Asked about tax hikes, Sir Keir said he would take “tough decisions” and face challenges with “raw honesty”.

The new Labour government faces tough choices on public finances, with forecasts suggesting major spending cuts.

But Thursday’s landslide victory in the General Election has given Labour “a clear mandate to govern for all four corners of the United Kingdom,” Sir Keir said as he set out plans to tour all four UK nations in the coming days.

Saturday also saw the final result of the general election, with the Lib Dems winning the Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire constituency.

The outcome had originally been expected at about 05:00 BST on Friday, but a recount meant the results were delayed until Saturday afternoon.

Candidate Angus MacDonald gained a majority of 2,160 over the SNP’s Drew Hendry.

It means the Lib Dems have won 72 Westminster seats. Six of these are in Scotland, meaning the Lib Dems overtake the Scottish Conservatives as Scotland’s third largest party in Westminster.

Across the UK, Labour won 412 seats while the Conservatives were on 121.

Kimchi blamed for mass sickness in South Korea

By Aleks PhillipsBBC News

About 1,000 people in South Korea are suffering from food poisoning linked to kimchi contaminated with norovirus.

Officials in Namwon City, in the south-west of the country, announced on Friday morning that there had been 996 confirmed cases – although local media reports say that number had climbed to 1,024 by early Saturday afternoon.

Authorities said the popular fermented cabbage dish had been distributed to those now sick through school meals in the city.

They added that students and staff from 24 schools were among the patients with vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pains.

Norovirus is very contagious and can be caught through touching contaminated surfaces – such as toilet flush handles – and from people who are already infected.

Most people recover in a few days without needing hospital treatment, but some become very ill.

  • What gives kimchi its unusual flavour?

Namwon City officials said it began an epidemiological investigation to uncover the source of the illness on Wednesday, after the first case was reported the previous day.

Since then, the number of cases grew rapidly – rising from 153 on Wednesday to 745 on Thursday.

In a social media post on Thursday, the city’s Mayor, Choi Kyung-sik, said that health officials had adopted a “pre-emptive and excessive response” in an attempt to prevent further spread of the illness.

“We will ensure the safety of our citizens,” he added.

City officials said norovirus had been detected among patients, through environmental samples and in some of the kimchi regularly delivered to schools.

As a result, its disaster and safety department had temporarily suspended the production and sale of any products from the company that made the kimchi – which is also in the process of voluntarily recalling products that have already been distributed.

The firm that produced the kimchi has not yet been officially named.

French far right seeks vote win but deadlock looms

By Paul KirbyBBC News in Paris

France votes in one of its most significant elections in years on Sunday, with the far right hoping for a historic victory, but political stalemate the more likely result.

This is the first time the anti-immigration National Rally (RN) of Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella has had a realistic chance of running the government and taking outright control of the National Assembly.

But after the RN’s first-round victory in snap parliamentary elections last Sunday, hundreds of rival candidates dropped out to give others a better chance of defeating the far right.

Voting begins in mainland France at 08:00 (06:00 GMT) and the first exit polls will be released 12 hours later.

Whatever the result, it is difficult to see President Emmanuel Macron coming out of this well.

Four weeks ago, he said it was the responsible solution to call a snap vote in response to the RN’s victory in European elections, minutes after the party’s 28-year-old leader Jordan Bardella challenged him to do so.

The two-round election came as a shock to a country gearing up for the start of the Paris Olympics on 26 July. Security was already tight and now 30,000 police have been deployed for a period of heightened political tension.

There are fears of violence in Paris and other French cities, whatever the outcome of the vote, and a planned protest outside the National Assembly on Sunday evening has been banned.

In Dreux, a historic old town on the road to Normandy, Sunday’s vote falls on the day the Olympic flame is passing through. “For us it’s a massive thing, bigger than the election,” says Pauline in the tourist office.

The flame has been travelling around France for almost two months, and Dreux has planned a weekend of festivities to mark its arrival.

“Macron should have waited until after the Olympics,” Dreux resident Antoine told the BBC.

Veteran commentator Nicolas Baverez believes the president has not just blown up his term in office and opened the gates of power wide for the far right. “He’s compromised the running of the Paris 2024 Olympics, which could deliver a final blow to France’s credit and its image,” he wrote in Le Point on the eve of the vote.

The constituency that includes Dreux is one of the races to watch in the second round of this election.

Candidates such as Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella have already won their seats, by winning more than half the vote. But another 500 contests are being decided in run-offs, mostly involving either two or three candidates.

Former conservative cabinet minister Olivier Marleix was beaten in the first round by far-right candidate Olivier Dubois. They both qualified for the run-off, along with a candidate from the left-wing New Popular Front, which is in second place nationally.

But because Nadia Faveris was narrowly beaten into third by her conservative rival, she pulled out of the race “to block National Rally”.

One voter, Morgan, was sceptical that anything would change in the town, whoever won.

BBC
For 10 years, our governments have been making promises but they’ve never delivered. If RN wins I don’t think anything would change either

There have been 217 of these withdrawals across France, including 130 Popular Front candidates and 81 from the president’s Ensemble alliance.

And that has dramatically changed the balance of this pivotal general election.

Projections after Sunday’s first round gave the RN a fighting chance of securing an outright majority of 289 seats, but final opinion polls on Friday suggest that is now out of reach, with 205 to 210 seats as a potential maximum.

The parties trying to block an RN victory range from the radical left, Communists and Greens to the Macron centrists and conservatives. They say they are defending the Fifth Republic from the extreme policies of the far right.

National Rally has watered down many of its policies but still wants to give French citizens “national preference” over immigrants for jobs and housing. It aims to abolish the right of automatic citizenship to the children of immigrants who have spent five years aged 11 to 18 in France. It also wants to bar dual nationals from dozens of sensitive jobs.

Opinion polls are not necessarily reliable. Each of the 500 races is a local contest and voters do not follow recommendations from political parties.

If the RN managed upwards of 250 seats, it might seek out allies to form a minority government. President Macron’s party had to make do with similar numbers until he became frustrated with his limited ability to pass reforms in parliament.

That kind of RN government is unlikely, believes Prof Armin Steinbach of HEC business school in Paris. It would soon face a vote of no confidence, he believes, and under the constitution, France cannot have another general election for at least another year.

Another potential scenario is a “grand coalition” that would involve most of the other parties, except for the radical France Unbowed (LFI) party, which the Macron alliance and conservatives reject as extremists.

This idea has gained some momentum in recent days, but Greens leader Marine Tondelier has made clear “there’ll be no Macronist prime minister”, whatever happens.

There is also talk of a technocrat government, similar to those that ran Italy during the eurozone debt crisis. But instead of choosing experts from outside politics, it might include politicians with proven expertise in particular fields.

In any case, France is entering uncharted territory, says Jean-Yves Dormagen of the Cluster 17 institute.

President Macron himself has said he is not about to resign and will continue to serve out his final three years in office.

“We will have Macron as a lame duck president who created this mess without having to do so,” Prof Steinbach told the BBC. “And he’s losing legitimacy.”

The immediate concern for France is to have some kind of government in place during the Olympic Games.

Constitutional expert Benjamin Morel believes the president could form a national unity government until the end of the Paris Games.

“That would give the parties time to to reach an agreement between now and the start of the school year and the next budget,” he told Le Figaro.

Air strike leaves 100,000 without power in Ukraine

By Vitaly Shevchenko and Tom McArthurBBC Monitoring and BBC News

A Russian attack on a power facility in Ukraine has left 100,000 people without power in the north-western region of Sumy.

Work is under way to restore power, National grid operator Ukrenergo said, following the strikes, which caused emergency shut-offs for consumers in the city and region of Sumy, which borders Russia.

There were no reports of casualties or damage apart from the energy facility, Reuters reports.

Russia continues to pummel energy facilities across Ukraine, often plunging the country into extended blackouts with people enduring sweltering summer conditions without running water, air conditioning, or life-saving medical equipment.

Over the past three months alone, Ukraine has lost nine gigawatts of generating capacity, the national energy company Ukrenergo says, losing all of its thermal power plants to enemy action and seeing all hydroelectric sites damaged by drones or missile strikes.

This is enough to power the whole of the Netherlands during peak hours of consumption, and more than a third of the capacity Ukraine had before Russia’s full-scale invasion began in February 2022, according to the national grid operator.

Poland has been diverting surplus electricity to Ukraine to help it cope with the Russian strikes, but Ukrenego has scheduled cut-offs of electricity throughout the day across the country as domestic generation and electricity imports could not cover the deficit.

Maria Tsaturian from Ukrenergo told the BBC she is aware that a lot of anger is directed at her company for cutting electricity so often, for so long and for so many customers. But, she says, there’s no other option.

“We are at war. The energy sector is one of the goals for the Russian terrorists. And it is obvious why: all our life, all our civilisation, is built on electricity,” she says.

“This is the price we pay for freedom.”

Meanwhile, Ukrainian air defences shot down 24 out of 27 Shahed kamikaze drones Russia launched on the night of 5-6 July, the Air Force Command has reported on Telegram.

The drones were intercepted over areas including the Sumy region, using electronic jamming and anti-air defences, it said.

Cyclist fined for kissing wife during Tour de France

By Michael Sheils McNameeBBC News

French cyclist Julien Bernard has given a light-hearted apology after being fined for kissing his wife during a Tour de France time trial.

The Lidl-Trek rider was made to pay 200 Swiss francs ($223; £174) by the International Cycling Union (UCI) for stopping briefly during stage seven of the race.

The governing body said the fine was for “unseemly or inappropriate behaviour during the race and damage to the image of the sport”.

Writing on social media, Bernard apologised to the UCI for “having damaged the image of sport” but said he was willing to pay the fine “every day and relive this moment”.

Stage seven of the Tour de France is a short course of 23.3km (14.5 miles) and is one of two time trials in the race – where cyclists race against the clock for the best time.

The climb takes place in the famous wine region of Burgundy. According to Cycling News, Bernard was just 30 minutes from where he lives when he was met by his supporters.

As he reached the top of a climb, friends ran towards him holding signs and his wife stepped forward – at which point she gave him a quick kiss, holding their son who was dressed in a replica cycling kit.

A fine for the same amount and for breaking the same rule was given earlier in the race to Italian cyclist Davide Ballerini, after he stopped to watch Britain’s Mark Cavendish sprint to a record-breaking 35th Tour de France stage victory.

In a television interview following the stage, Bernard said the encounter with his loved ones had been a unique moment in his career and he had pushed hard earlier in the stage so he would have enough time to do so.

“It was really incredible. My wife has been organising this with some friends for a few weeks now and she did a really, really good job,” he said.

“On a time trial, you have time to enjoy yourself. It’s these moments that keep me going and cycling.”

Reformist Masoud Pezeshkian elected Iran’s president

By Kasra NajiSpecial Correspondent, BBC Persian • Tom BennettBBC News

Reformist Masoud Pezeshkian has been elected as Iran’s new president, beating his hardline conservative rival Saeed Jalili.

The vote was declared in Dr Pezeshkian’s favour after he secured 53.3% of the more than 30 million votes counted. Mr Jalili polled at 44.3%.

The run-off came after no candidate secured a majority in the first round of the election on 28 June, which saw a historically low voter turnout of 40%.

The election was called after Iran’s previous president Ebrahim Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash in May, in which seven others also died.

The leaders of China, India and Russia have all congratulated Dr Pezeshkian on his victory.

Even before the final results were declared by Iran’s interior ministry, Dr Pezeshkian’s supporters had taken to the streets in Tehran and a number of other cities to celebrate.

Videos posted on social media showed mostly young people dancing and waving the signature green flag of his campaign, while passing cars sounded their horns.

Dr Pezeshkian, a 71-year-old heart surgeon and member of the Iranian parliament, is critical of Iran’s notorious morality police and caused a stir after promising “unity and cohesion”, as well as an end to Iran’s “isolation” from the world.

He has also called for “constructive negotiations” with Western powers over a renewal of the faltering 2015 nuclear deal in which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in return for an easing of Western sanctions.

His rival, Saeed Jalili, favours the status quo. The former nuclear negotiator enjoys strong support amongst Iran’s most religious communities.

Mr Jalili is known for his hardline anti-Western stance and opposition to restoring the nuclear deal, which he says crossed Iran’s “red lines”.

Turnout in the latest round of voting was 50% – higher than the first round last week, when the turnout was the lowest since the Islamic revolution in 1979 amid widespread discontent, but still considerably low.

Widespread discontent meant that millions of people boycotted the elections.

Lack of choice in the candidates, dominated by Islamic hard liners, and the impossibility of real change as long as the supreme leader tightly controls policies added to their frustration.

Some people who did not vote in the first round were persuaded to cast their ballot for Dr Pezeshkian this time round to prevent Mr Jalili from becoming the president.

They feared that if he won, Iran would be heading for more confrontation with the outside world and that he would bring Iran more sanctions and further isolation.

In order to stand, both candidates had to make it through a vetting process run by the Guardian Council, a body made up of 12 clerics and jurists that hold significant power in Iran.

That process saw 74 other candidates removed from the race, including several women.

The Guardian Council has previously been criticised by human rights groups for disqualifying candidates who are not loyal enough to the regime.

After years of civil unrest – culminating in anti-regime protests that shook the country in 2022-23 – many young and middle-class Iranians deeply mistrust the establishment and have previously refused to vote.

On Iranian social media, the Persian hashtag “traitorous minority” went viral, urging people not to vote for either of the candidates and calling anyone who did a “traitor”.

But Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has rejected suggestions that the low turnout represents a rejection of his rule.

“There are reasons [behind the low turnout] and politicians and sociologists will examine them, but if anyone thinks that those who did not vote are against the establishment, they are plainly wrong,” he said.

In a rare move, he acknowledged that some Iranians do not accept the current regime. “We listen to them and we know what they are saying and it is not like they are hidden and not seen,” Mr Khamenei said.

More on this story

  • Published

Andy Murray’s Wimbledon career is over after Emma Raducanu pulled out of their planned appearance in the mixed doubles.

Former world number one Murray, 37, was due to play alongside his fellow Briton on Saturday evening at the All England Club.

Raducanu, 21, said she has “some stiffness” in her right wrist.

She moved into the fourth round of the women’s singles with a dominant two-set win over Greek ninth seed Maria Sakkari on Friday.

“I have decided to make the very tough decision to withdraw from the mixed doubles,” she said.

“I’m disappointed as I was really looking forward to playing with Andy but I’ve got to take care.”

Murray, a two-time singles champion at Wimbledon, was playing at SW19 for the last time before retiring later this year.

The Scot is said to be “disappointed” that he is unable to play alongside 2021 US Open champion Raducanu, who missed Wimbledon last year after having surgery on both wrists.

Murray’s mother Judy, in response to a post on X from television presenter Marcus Buckland describing Raducanu’s decision as “astonishing”, wrote: “Yes, astonishing.”

He was not permitted to find a replacement partner for Raducanu under tournament rules because the draw had already been made.

Murray and Raducanu, who were set to play China’s Zhang Shuai and El Salvador’s Marcelo Arevalo, have been replaced by an alternate pairing.

It means Murray made his final appearance on Thursday when he lost alongside older brother Jamie in the men’s doubles.

A video montage of Murray’s career was played on the Centre Court big screen after the match, leaving the former world number one in tears as thousands of fans showed their appreciation.

Murray pulled out of the singles on Tuesday as he continues to recover from a back operation on 22 June.

The three-time major champion is planning to retire later this year, with the Paris 2024 Olympic Games set to be his final event.

‘Schedule put Raducanu in very awkward position’ – analysis

Saturday’s schedule played a major part in Emma Raducanu’s decision.

Being asked to play in the fourth match of the day on Court One is the same as being asked to play in a night session.

And given this Grand Slam is a predominantly daytime event, you can understand why a player would not want to spend all evening on site with a fourth-round singles match the following day.

The schedule put Raducanu in a very awkward position, and has led to a decision which will be very disappointing for Murray and everyone looking forward to what would have been a fun finale to his Wimbledon career.

This was no ordinary mixed doubles pairing, although players do regularly prioritise singles over doubles.

And there can be no change of partner once the draw is made. So instead of Murray teaming up with another British player, American alternates Rajeev Ram and Katie Volynets come into the draw.

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