Questions arise as WFP says it owned shipment seized in Yemen

Updated 17 February 2016
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Questions arise as WFP says it owned shipment seized in Yemen

RIYADH: The World Food Programme (WFP) on Tuesday said communications equipment that Coalition forces have stopped from entering Yemen on one of its chartered ships belonged to the United Nations.
The UN humanitarian organization said the Mainport Cedar, which was diverted to the Saudi port of Jazan on Feb. 11, was carrying a cargo of humanitarian relief supplies bound for the Houthi-controlled port of Hodeida.
But the WFP’s revelation only raised questions. Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asseri, the coalition’s spokesman, said the communications equipment discovered on the ship during an inspection were similar to that used by the Houthis.
Moreover, the equipment were not declared by the WFP.
“It sustains the militias in their combat. Why did they not declare it?” Asseri said by phone.
The vessel was carrying a container of medical supplies from the Netherlands and two containers of food from Iran, and had originated its journey in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, Asseri said.
Saudi Arabia is leading an Arab coalition in a war against the Houthis and army forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh last March in an effort to restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power.
It has imposed a naval blockade to stop weapons being imported.
The equipment included computers, satellite dishes, solar panels, encryption systems, individual communication devices and other material often used for military purposes and found by Coalition forces in Houthi bases on the Saudi border, Asseri said.
Coalition forces, who had imposed a blockade on Yemeni ports as part of its campaign, accuses Iran of supplying the Houthis with weapons. Iran denies involvement in the conflict.
In September, the coalition said it had seized an Iranian fishing boat carrying 18 anti-armored Concourse shells, 54 anti-tank shells, shell-battery kits, firing guidance systems, launchers and batteries for binoculars destined for the Houthis.
In view of the incident, Asseri said the coalition has asked the WFP to ‘review your procedures, review your personnel’ to make sure this does not happen again.
Abeer Etefa, senior spokesman for the WFP, confirmed that the agency had received a request by the colaition.
“WFP has been asked by the coalition forces to resubmit the paperwork regarding the humanitarian IT equipment,” she said in an e-mail.
Nearly 6,000 people have been killed in Yemen since coalition forces intervened in March last year to stop Houthis and Saleh’s forces from ousting the UN-recognized government of Hadi.

(Reporting By Angus McDowall and Sami Aboudi)


12 suspected extremists killed in Egypt raids: ministry

Updated 20 May 2019
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12 suspected extremists killed in Egypt raids: ministry

  • The ministry said five other suspects were killed in a different raid
  • No group claimed responsibility for the Sunday attack

CAIRO: Twelve suspected militants were killed Monday in police raids near Cairo, Egypt’s interior ministry said, a day after a bomb blast injured 17 people including tourists near the Giza pyramids.
Security forces “carried out a raid against an apartment in the 6th of October district used for making explosive devices... These forces were shot at and responded, which left seven dead among the group,” which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the ministry said in a statement.
In another such raid in Cairo’s Al-Shorouk neighborhood against the militant Hasm group, an armed affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood, the ministry said five suspected extremists were killed in an exchange of fire.
Weapons and ammunition were seized in the two apartments, the interior ministry said.
“As part of the ministry’s efforts to tackle the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization, information reached national security services” of attacks being prepared by Hasm, the ministry said.
The statement did not directly link the raids to Sunday’s attack in which a roadside bomb hit a tourist bus near the famed Giza pyramids.
There was no claim of responsibility.
It came months after three Vietnamese holidaymakers and their Egyptian guide were killed when a roadside bomb hit their bus near the pyramids in December.
Egyptian authorities led a crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood members after the military overthrew president Muhammad Mursi in 2013.
The Hasm group emerged in 2016 and has in the past claimed responsibility for several attacks.