Francesco Molinari wins The Open after holding off Tiger Woods, Justin Rose & Rory McIlroy

Nerveless Francesco Molinari cards 69 to win Open title
The 147th Open Championship – final leaderboard
-8 F Molinari (Ita); -6 J Rose (Eng), R McIlroy (NI), K Kisner (US), X Schauffele (US); -5 E Pepperell (Eng), T Woods (US), K Chappell (US); -4 T Finau (US), M Kuchar (US), J Spieth (US)
Selected others: -3 T Fleetwood (Eng); -2 J Day (Aus), A Scott (Aus), Z Johnson (US); -1 P Mickelson (US), B Langer (Ger), D Willett (Eng)

Francesco Molinari has become the first Italian to win a major, holding off a pack of star names to claim The Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Molinari produced a faultless final round of 69 in windy conditions on the Scottish links to finish eight under.

He finished two ahead of four players, including home favourites Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy, tied on six under.

Tiger Woods finished five under after leading midway through the round, with Jordan Spieth on four under.

Molinari, 35, emerged from a six-way tie for the lead, when all the players were either on the back nine or in the clubhouse, to lift the Claret Jug.

The Europe Ryder Cup player started the final day three shots adrift of overnight leaders Spieth, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele, but maintained composure while his rivals all dropped shots in a thrilling battle for the lead.

“It is absolutely amazing,” Molinari said. “I think it will take a long time to sink in. It has been a great week.

“The course bit me a few times in the first two days, but to go bogey-free around this track at the weekend is incredible.”

Molinari takes form onto the biggest stage

Francesco Molinari wins Open Championship with birdie at 18

Molinari, ranked 15th in the world, had been tipped by a number of experts before the tournament as a player to watch at Carnoustie – and he proved them right with an assured display over the four days.

Despite a modest Open record, he had been backed on the strength of a fine few months that saw him claim the PGA Championship at Wentworth – his biggest win on the European Tour – and his maiden PGA Tour victory at the Quicken Loans Classic.

Steady opening rounds of 70 and 72 took him into the weekend, before a stunning 65 on Saturday propelled him into contention.

Molinari stressed the importance of making pars on Sunday in an interview after his third round, and he fulfilled his target by beginning with 13 pars in succession in testing conditions.

That steady sequence was ended with a birdie on the par-five 14th, before a glorious approach on the 18th allowed him to pick up another shot.

After finishing his round, Molinari looked anxious as he waited in the scorer’s cabin, watching nearest remaining challenger Schauffele bogey the 17th.

The 24-year-old American needed to eagle the last hole to force a play-off, but his approach landed short, allowing Molinari to celebrate with his caddie and wife.

Woods back among the world’s best

Woods signs glove for fan after hitting him with shot

Woods is a global star who has transcended the sport since he won his first major at the 1997 Masters aged 21.

Thirteen more majors followed over the next 11 years as the American looked on course to break Jack Nicklaus’ tally of 18 major victories – a record that has stood since 1986.

But his career derailed when a series of personal scandals were followed by a serious back injury, leaving many questioning whether he would ever return to anywhere near his best.

Ranked 650th at the start of the year, Woods has answered that positively with his lowest 72-hole total at a major since the 2012 Open.

Woods’ surge was accompanied by fervent support on the Scottish links, with a buzz of excitement following the 42-year-old around the course and on social media. His challenge helped attract a record crowd of 172,000 attend over the week.

Two birdies on the front nine on Sunday, coupled with dropped shots for Spieth and Schauffele, helped him take the outright lead of a major for the first time since his peak years.

But a double bogey at the 11th derailed his bid for a first major since the 2008 US Open and, although a birdie on the 14th briefly reignited his hopes, he had to settle for a share of sixth place after signing for a level-par 71.

Rose and McIlroy come close

McIlroy eagles 14 to put him back in with a chance

England’s Rose and Northern Ireland’s McIlroy were rated as the leading home hopes going into the 147th Championship and still had outside chances when they stepped onto the first tee on Sunday.

Rose only just made the cut by sinking a birdie on the 18th in Friday’s second round, but a career-best round at a major of 64 on Saturday gave him hope of a first Open title.

Meanwhile, McIlroy started the day a shot better off at five under as he aimed to claim his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship.

Both players appeared to have lost their chances of threatening the top of the leaderboard until they each made an eagle at the par-five 14th – Carnoustie’s easiest hole – to move back into the reckoning.

Rose also birdied the last to finish on six under, a score that was matched by McIlroy shortly afterwards with pars on the final four holes.

A play-off looked their best hope of an unlikely success – until Molinari also took advantage of the 14th to take control.

Another Englishman, Tommy Fleetwood, moved to six under with a birdie on the first, only to drop four shots in three holes before the turn and end up three under for the tournament with a two-over 73.

Fleetwood finished two shots adrift of compatriot Eddie Pepperell, who shot a 67 – the lowest round of the final day – to earn his best finish at a major.

Pepperell, 27, was set to commentate for BBC Radio 5 live before claiming a late qualification spot, going on to finish in sixth place and earning prize money of £287,000.

Overnight leaders Spieth and Schauffele fade

Defending champion Spieth was looking to become the first man since Padraig Harrington in 1998 to win back-to-back Open titles – which he also achieved on Royal Birkdale and Carnoustie.

The 24-year-old American was the favourite to reclaim the Claret Jug going into the final round, holding a share of the lead at nine under with Schauffele.

Both players dropped three shots between the fifth and seventh holes, though, dealing a major blow to their chances of victory.

Spieth dropped two more shots on the back nine to card a five-over 76, while Schauffele signed for a three-over 74.

“We were in the strangest spots possible on the golf course, where we didn’t think we would be,” said Schauffele.

“Every time I looked up at the leaderboard, there’s four, five, six guys in the lead, and five, six guys one back.

“I figured looking at the board isn’t going to do me any good and I was just happy to claw my way back in a little bit.”

‘Hottest player on the planet!’ – golfers react to Molinari’s win

Former Masters champion Sergio Garcia tweeted his congratulations to Molinari
World number two Justin Thomas saw Molinari’s quality up close in the opening two rounds
European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn was pleased to see one of his key players maintain their fine form
South African Branden Grace, who shot a low round of 62 at The Open last year, praised Molinari’s game
England’s Ross Fisher also showed how popular Molinari is among his peers



Tour de France 2018: Geraint Thomas keeps yellow jersey as Magnus Cort wins stage 15

Magnus Cort made it back-to-back stage wins for Astana following Omar Fraile’s victory on Saturday

Magnus Cort dominated a three-man sprint to win stage 15 of the Tour de France as Geraint Thomas retained the overall lead to take the yellow jersey into the race’s final week.

Denmark’s Cort broke clear with Bauke Mollema and Ion Izagirre inside the final 6km on the run-in to Carcassonne.

As the strongest sprinter of the trio, Cort duly held off his rivals to claim his first Tour stage win.

Team Sky’s Thomas still leads team-mate Chris Froome by one minute 39 seconds.

Dutchman Tom Dumoulin is third overall, 11 second further back, with only four of the remaining six stages likely to determine who will win the Tour.

However, Team Sky were dealt a blow when Gianni Moscon was disqualified from the race for hitting another rider.

Team Fortuneo-Samsic said the 24-year-old had punched their rider Elie Gesbert after 800m of Sunday’s stage.

In a statement, Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford said that they “support and accept” the decision by race organisers.

Following the second rest day on Monday, there are three tough mountain stages in the Pyrenees and an individual time trial to come, while stage 18 is a flat course and the final day is a processional run to Paris.

“It is rattling through quite nicely and I am looking forward to the rest day,” Thomas told BBC Radio 5 live.

“I am not even thinking about winning the Tour de France. I am not even contemplating it.

“There are three big days to go and a hard time trial to come. I will take each day and each climb as it comes and we will see what happens.”

Cort calls it right

With this stage being one of the last opportunities for the breakaway to go the distance in this year’s Tour, there were multiple attacks and counter-attacks off the front of the peloton in a frenetic first hour of racing.

Britain’s Adam Yates, now chasing stage wins after dropping down the standings, twice broke away but was dragged back each time, with a 29-man breakaway containing no threats to the overall leaders finally establishing themselves up the road.

Direct Energie’s Lilian Calmejane made a long solo effort over the Col de Sie before he was caught, and team-mate Fabien Grellier countered with Trek-Segafredo’s Julien Bernard.

Bora-Hansgrohe’s Rafal Majka then crested the Pic de Nore, being used for the first time in Tour history, alone before he was reeled in on the flat run-in by seven chasers, containing two riders each from Astana, Bahrain-Merida and Trek-Segafredo plus Calmejane.

Those three teams shed Majka and Calmejane but it was Astana who played the situation best – with Michael Valgren helping compatriot Cort get into the leading group and shutting down attacks behind.

And Cort, who won two flat stages in the 2016 Vuelta a Espana, duly did the rest, leading out the sprint to secure back-to-back stage wins for Astana following Omar Fraile’s victory on Saturday.

Sagan all but wraps up green

World champion Peter Sagan was again part of the break, claiming third place at the intermediate sprint to take an unassailable lead in the green jersey points classification.

The Slovak is now 282 points in front of second-placed Alexander Kristoff, with only a maximum 280 points available over the remaining six stages.

He pulled a record 100th green jersey at the presentation and now just needs to finish the race to equal Erik Zabel’s record of six points classification wins at the Tour.

With the breakaway initially unable to drop Sagan on the Pic de Nore, it even looked like he might contest for a fourth stage win of this year’s Tour before the steep gradients finally saw him drop back.

There was no movement in the general classification – Ireland’s Dan Martin attacked at the bottom of the final climb and gained a minute at one stage but was brought back long before the peloton rolled into Carcassonne, 13 minutes after Cort.

A rest then the Pyrenees

After Monday’s rest day, Tuesday’s stage 16 takes the race 218km from Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon, including a brief 15km dip into Spain.

In his stage-by-stage guide for BBC Sport, Mark Cavendish said: “The breakaway could go to the end again. Or Team Sky might want to get to grips and put their dominance in before the big showdowns in the Pyrenees.”

Stage 15 result

1. Magnus Cort (Den/Astana) 4hrs 25mins 52secs

2. Ion Izagirre (Spa/Bahrain-Merida) same time

3. Bauke Mollema (Ned/Trek-Segafredo) +2secs

4. Michael Valgren (Den/Astana) +29secs

5. Toms Skujins (Lat/Trek-Segafredo) +34secs

6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) same time

7. Lilian Calmejane (Fra/Direct Energie)

8. Rafal Majka (Pol/Bora-Hansgrohe) +37secs

9. Nikias Arndt (Ger/Sunweb) +2mins 31secs

10. Julien Bernard (Fra/Trek-Segafredo) +2mins 38secs

General classification after stage 15

1. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) 62hrs 49mins 47secs

2. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +1min 39secs

3. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Sunweb) +1min 50secs

4. Primoz Roglic (Slo/LottoNL-Jumbo) +2mins 38secs

5. Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R La Mondiale) +3mins 21secs

6. Mikel Landa (Spa/Movistar) +3mins 42secs

7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/LottoNL-Jumbo) +3mins 57secs

8. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) +4mins 23secs

9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana) +6mins 14secs

10. Dan Martin (Ire/UAE Team Emirates) +6mins 54secs



Mesut Ozil: Arsenal midfielder says he no longer wants to play for Germany

Ilkay Gundogan and Mesut Ozil, along with Everton’s Cenk Tosun, pose with the Turkish president

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil says he no longer wants to play international football for Germany.

In a lengthy statement, the 29-year-old said treatment he had received from the German Football Association (DFB) had made him “no longer want to wear the German national team shirt”.

He also claimed he was being blamed for Germany’s disappointing World Cup.

In May, Ozil was criticised after being photographed with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a London event.

Ozil attended the event with fellow Germany international Ilkay Gundogan. Both Ozil and Manchester City’s Gundogan are of Turkish descent.

Ozil says he and Gundogan talked about football with the president.

Afterwards, photographs were released by Turkey’s governing AK Party in the build-up to elections in the country, which Erdogan won outright.

Many German politicians questioned Ozil and Gundogan’s loyalty to German democratic values.

Germany has previously criticised the Turkish leader’s crackdown on political dissent following a failed coup.

Ozil said he would have been “disrespecting his ancestors’ roots” had he not posed for photographs with the Turkish president.

He added that he and his family had received hate mail, threatening phone calls and comments on social media.



Carter Page denies FBI claims he was Russian agent

Carter Page delivers a speech on the topic "Departing from hypocrisy: potential strategy during an era of global economic stagnation, threats to security and counterfeit news" in Moscow, Russia, 12 December 2016 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Carter Page was put under surveillance in October 2016

One of Donald Trump’s ex-foreign policy aides says allegations that he worked with the Russian government during the 2016 US election are “misleading”.

The FBI believed Carter Page was “collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government” at that time.

His alleged relationships with Russian intelligence officials are highlighted in court applications which led to him being put under surveillance.

Mr Trump said it appeared that his campaign was illegally spied on.

But he provided no evidence to support the claim.

The newly released surveillance applications were granted and renewed by several different judges sitting in a court authorised by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa).

The court, which has the power to authorise wiretaps and surveillance of suspected foreign spies, has one of the most secretive institutions in the US.

What was released?

The FBI released the previously secret document cache on Saturday night following Freedom of Information requests by several US organisations.

It contains 412 pages of heavily redacted material which includes the surveillance applications, their later renewals, and warrants surrounding the investigation into Mr Page.

“The FBI believes that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government,” the October 2016 application to the court states.

According to the documents, “the FBI believes that the Russian government’s efforts are being co-ordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with” Mr Trump’s presidential campaign.

It also said Mr Page “has established relationships with Russian government officials, including Russian intelligence officers”.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Donald Trump said the documents “confirm the Department of ‘Justice’ and FBI misled the courts”

Mr Page told CNN that describing him as an adviser to the Russian government was “way over the top”.

“I’ve never been an agent of a foreign power by any stretch of the imagination,” he said.

“You talk about misleading the courts, it’s just so misleading. It’s literally a complete joke.”

Asked about his previous comments referring to himself as an informal adviser to the Kremlin, Mr Page responded that his contacts had been “informal, having some conversations with people… this is really nothing and just an attempt to distract from the real crimes shown in this misleading document”.

Who is Carter Page?

Mr Page is an energy industry consultant with longstanding ties to Russia. He first contacted the Trump campaign in 2015 before meeting Mr Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, in January 2016.

By March 2016, Mr Trump had identified Mr Page as one of a handful of campaign foreign policy advisers.

However, after allegations emerged in the Steele dossier that he had served as an intermediary between Russian officials and the president’s campaign as they worked to advance Mr Trump’s presidential efforts, Mr Page resigned from his role. He denied all the allegations against him.

  • Read more: Carter Page has a story that doesn’t always add up

Row over court ‘politicisation’

Republicans have criticised the FBI for using material from the Steele dossier in applications to the Fisa court – describing its contents as entirely without foundation – while not telling the court that the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign had helped fund the research.

Democrats point out that the applications contain evidence against Mr Page that is not related to the Steele dossier, and that the FBI clearly told the court that the research sponsor wanted to discredit Mr Trump’s presidential campaign.

The application said that based on the dossier author’s previous reliable reporting history with the FBI, the agency believed the information to be credible.

What did Trump say?

The president took to Twitter to welcome the release of the documents and accuse the Department of Justice and the FBI of breaking the law to mislead the courts and spy on his campaign – to benefit his Democratic opponent in the election, Hillary Clinton.

The leader of the Democratic Party in the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, came to a different conclusion.

In a statement, she said: “Despite President Trump’s repeated claims, these documents provide clear evidence of ‘Russia’s co-ordination with Carter Page’, a high-ranking Trump campaign official, ‘to undermine and improperly and illegally influence the 2016 US presidential election’.”

She added: “The GOP [Republican Party] must cease their attacks on our law enforcement and intelligence communities, and finally decide where their loyalty lies.”

How does this fit into the wider picture?

The documents’ release comes nine days after 12 Russians were charged with hacking Democratic officials in the 2016 US elections.

The charges form part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into US intelligence findings that Russians conspired to tilt the election in Mr Trump’s favour, and whether any of his campaign aides colluded. Mr Trump has labelled the investigation a “witch hunt”.

So far, the inquiry has indicted 32 people – mostly Russian nationals in absentia.

  • Russia-Trump: Who’s who in the drama to end all dramas?

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Media captionTrump on Putin: “As the leader of a country, you would have to hold him responsible, yes”

Just days later, Mr Trump met his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, at a summit in Helsinki and was asked by reporters whether he believed Russia had meddled in the 2016 election,

“President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be,” he replied, appearing to back the Russians over his own agencies.

  • Will Helsinki change the course of Trump’s presidency?

The next day, following widespread outrage, he read a pre-prepared statement, saying he actually meant “wouldn’t”.

On Thursday, the White House announced it had invited Mr Putin to Washington in October.



German GP: Lewis Hamilton reflects on ’emotional day’ after win and reprimand

Lewis Hamilton takes a trip across the grass as he aborts his pit entry

Lewis Hamilton reflected on a “most emotional, unbelievable day” as he kept his German Grand Prix win after an investigation into a driving offence.

Hamilton cut across the grass to rejoin the track and take the lead after a late decision to abort a pit stop.

Stewards took into account mitigating factors in a chaotic part of the race and issued a reprimand.

“The most emotional day – up and down. No-one ever wants to go see the stewards,” the Mercedes driver said.

F1 rules dictate that “crossing the line separating the pit entry and the track by a car entering the pit lane is prohibited”.

Race stewards said that although Hamilton had clearly broken the rules on entering the pits, a reprimand was the “appropriate penalty”. Other possible punishments included a five- or 10-second penalty.

The ruling took into account that the driver and team admitted their mistake; that the offence was during a safety car period, when the speed of cars on track is controlled; and that the manoeuvre did not endanger any other drivers and was “executed in a safe way”.

His win gave him a 17-point championship lead over rival Sebastian Vettel.

Speaking after the verdict, Hamilton said: “It has been an unbelievable day.”

Hamilton started the race 14th and had fought up to be fifth when a rain shower hit with just over 20 laps to go.

Vettel, who had dominated the race to that point, crashed and Hamilton took the lead as his rivals pitted following the subsequent safety car period.

Mercedes then called off a fight between him and team-mate Valtteri Bottas after the re-start, ordering the Finn to hold position to protect their unexpected one-two finish.

The result meant that, having expected to lose further ground in the championship to Vettel, Hamilton now has an advantage heading into next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, the last before F1’s four-week summer break.

Speaking before the stewards’ investigation, Hamilton said: “I don’t remember feeling this great. I am going to try to enjoy it while it lasts. I am tired because it was a hard race.

“I saw the cloud coming and then it started to spit – and as soon as it started, I was like, ‘Yes, this is going to create the opportunity at the right time.’ And, Jeez, it did.

“It is a whirlwind of a season. It has been up and down. I am grateful for the ups and downs.

“I woke up this morning and I was like, ‘I’m 14th, I don’t know what I can do from there but the dream is to win.’

“We all have dreams and they just seem so impossible to reach but I have done it time and time again.

“I had this dream to win and I can’t explain how it happened but I won. It gives me the confidence to know that when I go again at something, when I have a dream and a goal, I can get there with hard work.”

The FIA’s ruling in full

The stewards reviewed video and audio evidence, heard from the driver of car 44 (Lewis Hamilton) and the team representative. It was clear that there was an infringement of the above mentioned rule – the driver clearly crossed the line separating the pit entry from the track.

In deciding on the penalty for the infringement, we took into account the following mitigating factors.

i) The driver and the team candidly admitted the mistake and the fact that there was confusion within the team as to whether to stay out or to enter the pits and that led to the infringement.

ii) The fact that the infringement took place during a safety car period

iii) At no time was there any danger to any other competitor and the change in direction was executed in a safe way.



The Open 2018: Francesco Molinari wins Open Championship with birdie at 18

Francesco Molinari wins The 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie with a score of eight under par to become the first Italian to win a golfing major.

WATCH MORE: ‘How about that!’ McIlroy eagles to increase Open chances

Available to UK users only.



Broadford Primary School has SATs results annulled

Broadford Primary School Image copyright Google
Image caption Broadford Primary School, in Romford, east London, is run by Havering Council

Test results at an award-winning primary school in east London have been annulled amid allegations of cheating.

The Department for Education confirmed the results of key stage 2 English reading and maths papers at Broadford Primary School had been investigated.

The Mail on Sunday reported the investigation followed a “tip-off from a whistleblower” that cheating may have taken place.

The school said the article contained “inaccuracies” and “false claims”.

The Department for Education said the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) had investigated the school’s exam results.

‘Very different’

But in a lengthy statement on its Facebook page, the school said it had not yet seen a report from the STA and had been advised this would be sent to them by the end of next week.

“We were provided with verbal feedback on Thursday,” the statement said. “What they [the STA] told us is very different to the details leaked to the press.”

The school, which is in Romford and run by Havering Council, refused to comment further when approached by the BBC.

It was placed into special measures in 2011 and has worked its way up to be currently rated as “outstanding” by Ofsted.

It was named primary school of the year and overall school of the year at the 2017 Times Educational Supplement (TES) awards.

‘Pupils not affected’

A Department of Education spokeswoman said: “Any reports of cheating or misadministration of tests should be investigated.

“Following an investigation into the administration of 2018 key stage 2 tests at Broadford Primary School, the results for the key stage 2 English reading paper and one of the maths papers have been annulled.

“This does not affect the pupils involved.”

Havering Council declined to comment on the STA’s findings until it received a copy of the report.

A spokesman said: “We understand this may be upsetting for parents at the school.

“However, this delay will not cause any pupil to be at a disadvantage when transitioning to secondary school, as all pupils will have a completed Teacher Assessment for all their subjects.”



French woman in Montmartre tightrope walk

Tatiana-Mosio Bongonga walked 35 metres off the ground in front of hundreds of people in Paris.



Syria conflict: White Helmets evacuated by Israel

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Media captionFootage from the Israel Defense Forces shows the evacuation from Syria to Jordan

Israel says it has carried out an evacuation of members of Syria’s White Helmets civil defence group from a war zone in south-western Syria.

Some 422 volunteers and family members were taken to Jordan via the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights overnight.

The UK, one of the nations requesting Israel’s help, hailed the operation and will assist with resettlement.

The White Helmets describe themselves as a volunteer workforce that acts to save people in Syria’s war zones.

Supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and his Russian allies, say the White Helmets support the rebels and also have links to jihadist groups.

  • The unstoppable momentum of Assad’s war
  • Why is there a war in Syria?

How did the operation come about?

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said they were acting on a request from the US, the UK and other European nations.

The White Helmets had become trapped in an area of south-western Syria near the border with the Golan Heights after an offensive by the Syrian military.

Image copyright IDF
Image caption Pictures supplied by the Israel Defence Forces show families waiting to get off the bus after being safely evacuated

The offensive, begun in June, has seen a number of agreements that have led to the evacuation of rebel forces from the Deraa and Quneitra areas to regions further north.

The latest deal for Quneitra was reached on Thursday.

The White Helmets operate only in rebel-held areas, although they say they are non-partisan.

How was it carried out?

The evacuees were driven to the border with the Golan Heights and taken on from there by Israeli troops to Jordan.

The plan had been to evacuate 800 White Helmets and their families, but only 422 made it.

The BBC’s Mark Lowen says the others have been hemmed in by the expansion of Islamic State group fighters into pockets of south-west Syria and, as this was a one-off operation, fears remain for the fate of those left behind.

Those successfully evacuated included about 100 White Helmets, with the rest family members.

What have Israel and Jordan said?

The IDF said they had “completed a humanitarian effort to rescue members of a Syrian civil organisation and their families”, saying there was an “immediate threat to their lives”.

Although Israel is not directly involved in the Syria conflict, the two countries have been in a state of war for decades.

Despite the intervention, the IDF said that “Israel continues to maintain a non-intervention policy regarding the Syrian conflict”.

Jordan’s government confirmed it had “authorised the United Nations to organise the passage of 800 Syrian citizens through Jordan to be resettled in Western countries”.

What happens next?

The White Helmet volunteers and their families will be held in a “restricted area” of Jordan and assessed by the UN, pending resettlement.

Jordan said that “Britain, Germany and Canada made a legally binding undertaking to resettle them within a specified period of time due to ‘a risk to their lives’.”

Image copyright IDF
Image caption The families are now in Jordan, pending resettlement

The UK confirmed it would help with the resettlement, providing protection to “as many of the volunteers and their families as possible”.

A statement from Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “White Helmets have been the target of attacks and, due to their high profile, we judged that, in these particular circumstances, the volunteers required immediate protection.

“We pay tribute to the brave and selfless work that White Helmet volunteers have done to save Syrians on all sides of the conflict.”

Who are the White Helmets?

Their official name is the Syrian Civil Defence and it began in early 2013 as an organisation of volunteers from all walks of life, including electricians and builders.

Its main task soon became to rescue civilians in war zones in the immediate aftermath of air strikes, and it says its volunteers have saved the lives of more than 100,000 people during the civil war.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The White Helmets fight fires and carry out repairs in war zones

Numbering about 3,000 volunteers, they also carry out essential repair works. Some 200 members have been killed.

The White Helmets have gained worldwide praise, were nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize and were the subject of a Netflix documentary and BBC Panorama programme.

But Syria’s government and its ally Russia have accused the group of links to jihadist groups.

President Assad said it used “humanitarian masks and umbrellas just to implement a certain agenda”.

The group has been financed by public donations, as well as funding from foreign governments.



Teenager’s bridge notes ‘help save six lives’ in Sunderland

Paige Hunter and Northumbria Police Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption Paige Hunter received a commendation certificate from Northumbria Police Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt

A teenager who attached uplifting messages to a bridge to help people facing a mental health crisis has helped save six lives, police said.

Paige Hunter, 18, tied more than 40 notes to Sunderland’s Wearmouth Bridge.

One note says: “Even though things are difficult, your life matters; you’re a shining light in a dark world, so just hold on.”

Northumbria Police Ch Supt Sarah Pitt said it was an “innovative way to reach out to those in a dark place”.

Image copyright Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Image caption Wearmouth Bridge crosses the River Wear near Sunderland city centre

She said it was important to encourage people to speak out about mental health problems, adding: “Paige has shown an incredible understanding of vulnerable people in need of support.

“For somebody so young, Paige has shown a real maturity and we thought it would only be right to thank her personally.

“She should be very proud of herself.”

Where to get help

If you are in the UK, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123.

For support and more information on emotional distress, click here. You can also call for free, at any time, to hear recorded information on 0800 066 066.

‘Really inspiring’

The East Durham College student, who also works at Poundworld, was given a commendation certificate from the force.

Paige said: “Since I put the messages up I’ve had a lot of comments from people. They’ve said it’s been really inspiring.

“It’s just amazing, the response it has had. I wasn’t doing this for an award; it was just something that I wanted to do.”

Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption Paige Hunter attached more than 40 notes to Wearmouth Bridge

Since 2013, Northumbria Police’s Street Triage service has seen a team of dedicated officers and mental health nurses work alongside each other to respond to people experiencing a mental health crisis.

It was set up in partnership with Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.