11 Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen given prison terms

Updated 26 April 2013
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11 Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen given prison terms

SANAA: A Yemeni court yesterday sentenced 11 convicted Al-Qaeda militants to up to 10 years in prison for forming armed gangs to destabilize the country and planning attacks on foreign embassies and security forces.
The sentencing came as militants attacked a military camp in the central town of Radda, about 160 km south of Sanaa, setting off clashes that killed three soldiers and eight militants. Radda was briefly seized by Al-Qaeda militants last year before the Yemeni government waged an offensive to drive them out.
The militants, who took refuge in other areas in the central province where Radda is located, have been trying to return to the town.
In the court in Sanaa, Ahmed Al-Hababi, one of the defendants, threatened to kill the judge, shouting, “we will teach you a lesson and we will drag you on the ground.” Two raised an Al-Qaeda flag inside the defendants’ cage. Others shouted “God is great” in Arabic.
In another trial yesterday, a court in Aden, Yemen’s second largest city, began trying nine Yemenis for smuggling Iranian-made weapons on a ship. Eight were captured in January in the country’s territorial waters and one was tried in absentia. The trial was adjourned until April 30.
In another development, Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh returned from Saudi Arabia after medical treatment.


UAE to rebuild Iraq’s iconic Mosul mosque destroyed in Daesh fight

Updated 25 min 7 sec ago
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UAE to rebuild Iraq’s iconic Mosul mosque destroyed in Daesh fight

BAGHDAD: The United Arab Emirates and Iraq on Monday launched a joint effort to reconstruct Mosul’s Great Mosque of Al-Nuri and its iconic leaning minaret, ravaged last year during battles to retake the city from militants.
During the ceremony at Baghdad’s National Museum, UAE Culture Minister Noura Al-Kaabi said her country would put forward $50.4 million (41.2 million euros) for the task.
“The five-year project is not just about rebuilding the mosque, the minaret and the infrastructure, but also about giving hope to young Iraqis,” she said.
“The millenia-old civilization must be preserved.”
The deal was signed by Kaabi and her Iraqi counterpart, Faryad Rawanduzi, in the presence of UNESCO’s Iraq representative Louise Haxthausen.
“This is an ambitious, highly symbolic project for the resurrection of Mosul and Iraq,” said Haxthausen.
“The work has already begun, the site is now protected... we must first clear the site, remove the rubble (and) document, before we can begin reconstructing the mosque and its minaret.”
The famed 12th century mosque and its leaning minaret — dubbed “the hunchback,” or Al-Habda, by locals — was destroyed in June 2017.
The Iraqi army accused Daesh militants of destroying it with explosives as Iraqi forces steadily retook ground in the embattled city.
It was in this mosque in 2014 that Daesh’s self-proclaimed “caliph,” Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, made his only public appearance as leader. His whereabouts are still unknown.
Kaabi, the Emirati minister, called on the international community “to unite to protect universal heritage sites, especially those in our Arab region” in theaters of conflict.
The Al-Nuri mosque is named after Nureddine Al-Zinki, who once ruled over Aleppo and Mosul and ordered the construction of the mosque in 1172.
Al-Habda, which maintained the same structure for nine centuries, was one of the only remnants of the original construction.
Decorated with geometric brick designs, the minaret was long a symbol of the city.
It was printed on 10,000 Iraqi dinar banknotes before it became a symbol of Daesh rule, when the militants planted their black flag at the top of its 45-meter spire.
“This is a historic partnership, the largest and unprecedented cooperation to rebuild cultural heritage in Iraq ever,” UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay said in a statement.
The first year of reconstruction will focus on documenting and clearing the site, UNESCO said.
The following four years will focus on the restoration and “faithful reconstruction” of the mosque, its minaret as well as the city’s historic gardens and open spaces.