ISIL KILLS TEN WITH CAR BOMB IN YEMEN PORT CITY
Two civilians among the dead after suicide bomber blows up vehicle
At least 10 people were killed, including two civilians, when a car bomb exploded at a security post in the southern Yemen city of Aden yesterday.
ISIL claimed the attack shortly after, saying a suicide bomber had detonated the vehicle. The group claimed a major attack in Aden on November 5 that killed 35 people and sparked a hostage crisis.
“Eight members of the security forces and two civilians were killed in a car bombing in the central district of Abdul Aziz,” said the port city’s security chief, Brig Shalal Shaya.
“There are a large number of wounded, some of them in serious condition.”
Witnesses said they heard an explosion followed by gunfire at the main office of UAE-trained security forces in charge of guarding state-owned centres.
The Zayed bin Sultan mosque, which is near the security office and funded by the UAE, was damaged in the attack.
The UAE is a leading member of the Saudi-led coalition that intervened in the Yemeni war in March 2015 to help restore to power the internationally recognised government of president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.
Mr Hadi’s government relocated to Aden, Yemen’s second city, after Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa, in September 2014.
The rebels later overran large parts of the rest of the country but have since been pushed back from much of the south by pro-government forces backed by the coalition.
Since launching its intervention in March 2015, the coalition’s mission has expanded to include operations against extremist groups in Yemen – including ISIL and Al Qaeda – which have taken advantage of the war to expand their reach in the south of the country.
Before the attack in Aden on November 5, ISIL had not claimed responsibility for an assault in Yemen for almost a year.
Meanwhile, Yemen’s national airline, Yemenia, said yesterday that a commercial flight had landed at Aden international airport after acquiring security permits.
The coalition fighting Yemen’s Houthi rebels said last week it had closed all air, land and sea ports in Yemen to stem the flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran.
Iran’s expansion in the region. The rivalry has played out in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen and has more recently threatened to destabilise Lebanon, Reuters reported.
The back-and-forth between the two began on Sunday, when Mr Hariri made his first public comments since resigning.
“As for my meeting with Velayati, I clearly talked about the unacceptable Iranian interferences in the Arab countries and that we cannot continue while Iran and a political party are interfering in the Arab countries,” he said during a television interview from Riyadh.
“Political party” refers to Hizbollah, the Iranian-supported militia and political organisation that wields considerable influence in Lebanon and has long been at odds with Mr Hariri’s Future Movement. In 2011, during Mr Hariri’s first term as prime minister, Hizbollah withdrew from the government, forcing its collapse.
Hizbollah members have been accused by a United Nations tribunal in The Hague of the assassination of Mr Hariri’s father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri, in Beirut in 2005. It was a dispute over the legitimacy of the tribunal that led to Hizbollah’s withdrawal.
The war in Syria changed calculations in Lebanese politics last year, when Saad Hariri began a new term as prime minister and entered into a consensus government with Hizbollah. Mr Hariri’s resignation abruptly put an end to the detente, and his supporters have claimed that it was coerced by Saudi leaders as a way to pressure Iran in Lebanon, rather than a decision made by Mr Hariri himself.
Mr Hariri, whose father made a fortune as a construction magnate in Saudi Arabia, has close ties to the country and also carries a Saudi passport.
On Sunday, Mr Hariri called for all Lebanese parties to adhere to Lebanon’s policy of “disassociation” with regard to regional affairs. The call was directed at Hizbollah, which has sent thousands of men to fight on behalf of the Syrian government in that country’s six-year civil war.
Hizbollah has become a critical player in helping the Syrian government to beat back ISIL and rebels seeking the overthrow of president Bashar Al Assad, making disengagement by the group there unlikely.
Yesterday, Mr Hariri also met Bechara Al Rahi, the leader of Lebanon’s Maronite Church, who had planned to visit Saudi Arabia before Mr Hariri’s resignation.
Visits by leaders of religious orders are rare in Saudi Arabia, where practising any religion besides Islam is officially illegal. Mr Al Rahi’s trip was the first to Saudi Arabia by a Christian patriarch in more than 40 years, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
Mr Al Rahi also met King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Al Arabiya quoted the patriarch as saying he supported the reasons for Mr Hariri’s resignation.
“Patriarch Bechara Al Rahi’s ... visit stresses the kingdom’s approach for peaceful co-existence, closeness and openness for all sections of Arabic people,” Saudi Gulf Affairs minister, Thamer Al Sabhan, said on Twitter.
Upon his arrival, the patriarch met members of the Lebanese community.
“We will maintain a strong friendship between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon,” he said. “This is our history even if we have had stormy relations sometimes. [There] is a history of friendship with this dear kingdom.”
Saad Hariri announced his resignation in Saudi Arabia