Two civil­ians among the dead af­ter sui­cide bomber blows up ve­hi­cle

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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

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