A fresh eruption of Mount Etna has sent a huge six mile long ash cloud into the sky above Catania in Sicily.
Dramatic pictures showed the ancient port city dwarfed by the a menacing cloud spewing out of the volcano, one of the most active in the world.
Vincenzo Bellini, Sicily’s second largest international airport, was temporarily closed at lunchtime on Monday due to the eruption, with inbound flights diverted to Palermo.
The ash cloud rose 6.2 miles into the air above a crator on the south-east of the volcano, the INGV National Institute for Geophysics and Vulcanology said on Twitter.
Ash covered roads, balconies and roofs of towns nearby, Italy’s civil protection agency said.
INGV said it had recorded a gradual rise in volcanic-seismic tremor – induced by escaping gases – which could be a sign that Etna is heading towards another spectacular burst of fiery lava fountaining, known as paroxysmal activity.