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Popocatepetl, Mexico Volcano, Spews Ash

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Incandescent materials, ash and smoke are spewed from the Popocatepetl Volcano as seen from the Santiago Xalitxintla, in the Mexican central state of Puebla, on April 20, 2012. (YURI CORTEZ/AFP/GettyImages)
Incandescent materials, ash and smoke are spewed from the Popocatepetl Volcano as seen from the Santiago Xalitxintla, in the Mexican central state of Puebla, on April 20, 2012. (YURI CORTEZ/AFP/GettyImages)


MEXICO CITY, May 10 (Reuters) - An ash cloud from a Mexican volcano on Thursday forced the suspension of flights to and from the international airport of Puebla, a major city southeast of Mexico City.

The government of Puebla state, of which the city is the capital, said local authorities had ordered the airport to close and would review the situation again around midday.

Mexico last month raised the alert level for the volcano Popocatepetl, which lies some 50 miles (80 km) southeast of the capital, after it began pumping out red-hot fragments of rock and ash.

The country has been closely monitoring the 5,450 meter (17,900 foot) volcano, which has prompted school classes in nearby villages to be suspended on days of higher activity.

The airport in Puebla also closed for several hours late on Tuesday due to the concentration of ash billowing out of Popocatepetl. German carmaker Volkswagen's Mexican operations are based in Puebla. (Reporting by Veronica Gomez and Lorne Matalon; Editing by Paul Simao)

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