Coalition denies role in Yemen wedding bombing that killed 131

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Updated 30 September 2015
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Coalition denies role in Yemen wedding bombing that killed 131

SANAA: The Saudi-led anti-rebel coalition denied on Tuesday that its warplanes were behind the bombing of a wedding in southwestern Yemen as the toll soared to 131, including women and children.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned Monday’s air raid, saying intentional attacks on civilians were considered a “serious violation of international humanitarian law.”
Residents said the Arab coalition, which launched an air war on the Houthi Shiite rebels in late March, was behind the attack on the wedding in Wahijah village near the Red Sea city of Mokha.
But the spokesman for the Riyadh-based coalition, Brig. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri, denied any involvement.
“The coalition did not conduct any air strikes in the area over the past three days,” he said. “This is completely false.”
The coalition called for an independent investigation into the incident.
“We can prove by satellite that we did not fly over that zone,” a coalition source said.
The death toll rose to 131 on Tuesday after “more bodies were taken overnight to hospital and many of the wounded succumbed to their injuries,” a local health official told AFP, requesting anonymity.
Previously the toll had been at least 40 dead and dozens wounded.
A doctor at Mokha’s Al-Reefi Hospital, Mayaz Al-Hamadi, confirmed that 131 bodies, including women and children, had been brought in.
“Many bodies are laid on the floor because the hospital does not have the means” to accommodate the large number of fatalities, he said.
The United Nations said it was trying to verify the death toll.

Deadliest incident
“If the numbers are as high as suggested, this may be the single deadliest incident since the start of the conflict,” Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told reporters in Geneva.
Colville said that more civilians were being killed in the fighting in Yemen amid “an increasing number of air strikes targeting bridges and highways.”
According to new UN figures, 151 civilians were killed, including 26 children and 10 women, in the conflict between September 11 and 24.
A total of 2,355 civilians have been killed in the war since late March, and 4,862 have been wounded, Colville said.
Ban urged all rival sides in Yemen “to immediately cease all military activities and resolve all differences through peaceful negotiations.”
President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi returned from nearly six months of exile in Saudi Arabia to Yemen’s southern port city of Aden last Wednesday.
On Sunday, as he left for the UN General Assembly, Hadi urged the rebels to lay down their arms and resume dialogue to end the conflict.
Human rights watchdogs have repeatedly criticized the coalition’s aerial bombardment of Yemen, saying they have struck areas without any military targets.
They have also accused the rebels of war crimes for what they have called “indiscriminate” shelling of civilian-populated areas.


Syrian businessman linked to Assad arrested in Kuwait

Mazen Al-Tarazi has been living in Kuwait for a long while. (AFP/File)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Syrian businessman linked to Assad arrested in Kuwait

  • The businessman has a publishing and advertising company in Kuwait
  • He is blacklisted in the EU

KUWAIT CITY: A prominent Syrian businessman with close ties to Syrian President Bashar Assad has been arrested in Kuwait, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Mazen Al-Tarazi was arrested late Monday at his offices, his lawyer Badr Al-Yacoub told AFP.
He said that he did not yet know the reasons behind his client’s arrest.
Local authorities did not immediately release the charges against Tarazi.
But Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas, citing unnamed informed sources, reported that the businessman is accused of money laundering and printing texts without authorization.
A longtime resident of Kuwait, Tarazi owns a publishing and advertising firm in partnership with a high-profile local businessman, Ahmad Al-Jarallah.
Jarallah confirmed to AFP that police had raided his offices on Monday night and arrested Tarazi’s secretary and two Al-Hadaf magazine employees.
Tarazi is on an EU blacklist of Syrian nationals who have been banned from entry to European states and whose assets have been frozen over their role in the Syria war.