Mt. Etna Cools Its Jets

Iraqi shopkeepers move their goods which were damaged in a car bomb explosion on Sunday, July 8, 2007, in Karrada district in Baghdad, Iraq. Two car bombs exploded in Baghdad killing at least 2 and injuring five others.
Getty Images/Wathiq Khuzaie
As Mount Etna stopped spewing ash, Sicily's main eastern airport reopened Monday after a four-day closure.

Catania's Fontanarossa airport was closed Thursday night because of the thick ash raining down on the airstrip for the fourth time since the volcano came to life in mid-July.

Etna, Europe's biggest and most active volcano, is now calm, the Civil Protection Agency said Monday.

The fountain of ash coming out of Etna's main mouth has stopped, officials said. A river of lava was still continuing its slow advance down the mountain but did not pose a threat.

Etna has calmed down significantly in recent days after lava came dangerously close to a tourist complex halfway up the volcano. Before it came to a stop, it swallowed up a cable car base and a building used to store ski equipment at the Rifugio Sapienza tourist station.

Another river of lava stopped 2 1/2 miles from the town of Nicolosi, home to 6,000 people.

The airport closures, which have affected the region's summer tourist industry, have angered local officials who questioned whether they were necessary.

Etna springs to life every few months. Its last major eruption was in 1992.

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