Suicide bomber targets police chief in Yemen’s Aden, kills 7

Updated 17 January 2016
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Suicide bomber targets police chief in Yemen’s Aden, kills 7

SANAA, Yemen: A suicide car bomber rammed his vehicle into the police chief’s house in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on Sunday, killing seven civilians and security forces in a failed assassination attempt after militants killed two other security officials elsewhere in the country.
Police Chief Shallal Al-Shayei survived a similar assassination attempt last month, as did the governor of the province, which forces loyal to the internationally recognized government pried away from Shiite Houthi rebels last year. Aden’s previous governor was killed in an attack claimed by a local Islamic State affiliate.
Ambulances raced to the police chief’s house after the explosion, which could be heard across the city, witnesses said. Officials said an armored vehicle blocked the suicide car bomber meters from the gates of the house. Seven people were killed and 12 injured after the explosion ripped through a bus that was passing by.
Yemen has been mired in a conflict pitting the Shiite Houthi rebels against the internationally-backed government, which is allied with a Saudi-led coalition. The fighting has killed more than 5,800 people since last March, when the coalition began striking Houthi targets from the air.
The chaos has allowed a powerful local Al-Qaeda affiliate and a more recently formed branch of the Daesh group to expand their reach, including in Aden, Yemen’s commercial hub.
US drones have carried out a number of strikes since the start of the year targeting Al-Qaeda militants, according to security officials and witnesses, who said drone strikes killed 13 militants on Sunday in Jaar, a town seized by Al-Qaeda last year. They did not know the affiliation of the militants.
It was not immediately possible to confirm the account. US officials rarely speak publicly about the covert drone program.
The Saudi-led coalition meanwhile appears to have stepped up airstrikes in northern Yemen targeting the Houthis and allied army units loyal to a former president. Residents said the coalition launched at least 35 strikes on Sunday in the capital and the northern province of Jawf.
In Saada, the Houthis’ northern heartland, Houthi officials and witnesses said an air raid killed at least 30 people on Saturday. It was not clear if they were civilians or fighters.
Elsewhere in Yemen, Police Chief Adel Al-Asbahi of Bayda province was killed by a bomb planted in his vehicle on Sunday, while Mohammed Al-Dhali, of the special forces, was gunned down by attackers on a motorcycle in the rebel-held capital, Sanaa. No group has claimed responsibility for the killings.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. Witnesses requested anonymity for security reasons.


Rocket hits site of foreign oil firms in Iraq’s Basra

Updated 7 min 57 sec ago
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Rocket hits site of foreign oil firms in Iraq’s Basra

  • The rocket hit Burjeisa residential and operations headquarters west of Basra
  • Police said the rocket was a short-range Katyusha missile

BASRA, Iraq: A rocket struck the site of the residential and operations headquarters of several global major oil companies, including US giant ExxonMobil, near Iraq’s southern city of Basra early on Wednesday, wounding three people, Iraq’s military said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. It came after two separate attacks in as many days on bases housing US military personnel in Iraq, as tension rose between the United States and Iran.
The rocket hit the Burjesia site west of the city, according to police and a statement released by the military. Police earlier said two Iraqi workers were wounded.
The United States evacuated hundreds of diplomatic staff from its Baghdad embassy last month, citing unspecified threats from Iran against US interests in neighboring Iraq, where Tehran supports some Shiite militias.
Wednesday’s incident came just as Exxon staff who were also evacuated after the diplomats’ departure had begun to return to Basra.
A security source said Exxon was evacuating 21 foreign staff immediately by plane to Dubai.
Oil officials said operations including exports from southern Iraq were not affected by the incident.
Other companies operating at the site include Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Italy’s Eni SpA, the oil officials said.
The rocket was a short-range Katyusha missile, the military said. Police said it landed 100 meters from the part of the site used as a residence and operations center by Exxon.
Burjesia is near the Zubair oilfield operated by Eni.
Washington has ramped up sanctions pressure on Iran in recent months and says it has sent additional forces to the region over tension with the Islamic Republic.
It blames Tehran for attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week. Tehran denies it was involved.
Both sides say they do not want war, but analysts warn such incidents could escalate violence in the region.