Guards stop at­tack on Ye­men cen­tral bank

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

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, sa­ 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

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