Guards stop attack on Yemen central bank
Guards thwarted a suicide attack on the Yemeni central bank yesterday opening fire on the bomber’s vehicle and blowing it up before it reached the building, a security official said. The central bank has been based in the government-controlled second city of Aden since last month, when President Abedabbo Mansour Hadi ordered its relocation from the rebel-held capital Sanaa accusing the rebels of running down its foreign reserves.
Five guards were wounded when the bomber’s vehicle blew up around 30 meters from the bank building, the security official told AFP. The force of the blast shattered the bank’s windows and caused damage to other nearby buildings. The bank’s relocation has been a major blow to the rebels, forcing them to halt salary payments to state employees in the large areas of the country they control.
The move came after a UN report released in August found that the rebels and their allies were diverting about $100 million a month from the central bank, and that its foreign reserves had dwindled to $1.3 billion from about $4 billion in November 2014. A Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the rebels alongside Hadi’s forces since March last year but his writ is still largely confined to the south and areas along the Saudi border. Government targets in Aden have also been repeatedly hit by jihadists of both Al-Qaeda and its rival the Islamic State group. The two groups have taken advantage of the conflict between the government and the rebels to bolster their presence across much of the south.
Coalition strikes kill 17 Yemen civilians
Meanwhile, air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen killed 17 civilians in a battleground southwestern town yesterday, the insurgents said. Rescuers were still pulling bodies from the rubble after the raids hit residential buildings in Salo southeast of Yemen’s third city Taez, rebel-controlled media said, giving a toll of 17 dead and seven wounded.
Most of those killed were women, sabanews.net said, reporting four strikes hit three residential buildings, “completely destroying them”. A doctor at the town’s public hospital said it had received the bodies of 15 dead and was treating seven wounded. There was no immediate comment from the coalition, which launched a military campaign against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels and their allies in March last year to support President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s government. But a local Yemeni official loyal to the Saudi-backed government said the coalition air strikes had hit three adjacent homes by mistake.
“All those in the houses were killed,” he told AFP, adding that a child and seven women were among the dead. The coalition has come under mounting international criticism for the high civilian death toll from its bombing campaign. An October 8 strike that killed more than 140 people attending a funeral ceremony for the father of a rebel leader in the capital Sanaa drew condemnation even from close Western allies. The coalition launched a swift investigation into that attack and acknowledged that one of its warplanes had “wrongly targeted” the funeral based on “incorrect information”. It announced disciplinary measures, compensation for the families of victims and allowed the most seriously wounded to be evacuated on board an Omani flight. — Agencies