Soldiers among seven killed in Iraq violence

Updated 04 October 2013
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Soldiers among seven killed in Iraq violence

BAGHDAD: Attacks in Iraq, including two suicide bombings, killed three soldiers and four civilians on Friday, security and medical officials said.
In Anbar province, west of Baghdad, a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle near an army checkpoint at an entrance to the town of Heet at about 7:30 a.m. (0430 GMT), killing three soldiers and wounding five.
Militants frequently carry out attacks against security forces and other government employees.
While the mostly Sunni Anbar province was home to militant strongholds in past years, it has been relatively quiet in recent weeks, with most of the latest violence seen in Baghdad and several northern provinces, which are more confessionally and ethnically mixed.
Another suicide bomber blew up a vehicle near a police checkpoint in Salaheddin province, north of Baghdad, killing three people and wounding seven, while a roadside bomb near the home of a Shiite family in Diyala province’s capital Baquba killed one person and wounded two.
Members of Iraq’s Shiite majority are frequently targeted by Sunni militants, who consider them apostates.
Violence has reached a level unseen since 2008, and there are fears Iraq may relapse into the kind of intense Sunni-Shiite bloodshed that peaked in 2006-2007 and killed tens of thousands of people.
With the latest violence, more than 60 people have been killed in attacks so far this month, and over 4,750 since the beginning of the year, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.


UAE’s Gargash: Arab coalition’s full control of Hodeidah only a matter of time

Updated 7 min 49 sec ago
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UAE’s Gargash: Arab coalition’s full control of Hodeidah only a matter of time

  • Gargash, speaking to reporters in Dubai, estimated the number of Houthi fighters in Hodeidah at between 2,000 to 3,000
  • The UN envoy for Yemen carried a plan to halt fighting around the key aid port of Hodeidah where Houthi militia have been battling a regional coalition as he arrived Saturday in the militia-held capital Sanaa

DUBAI: The Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-aligned Houthis for control of Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah will take a “calculated and gradual” approach to the battle, a senior United Arab Emirates official said on Monday.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said the military alliance led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE was taking into consideration a “fragile humanitarian situation,” avoiding civilian casualties in addition to military calculations.

Gargash, speaking to reporters in Dubai, estimated the number of Houthi fighters in Hodeidah at between 2,000 to 3,000. He declined to reveal the size of coalition forces but said they had “numerical superiority.”

He said that the Arab coalition’s full control of Hodeidah only a matter of time.

Gargash added that the Hodeidah port is a “major artery” for weapons smuggling from Iran to the Houthis.

“The liberation of Hodeidah is a major step in freeing Sanaa,” the UAE minister said, adding that “the roads leading to the port are filled with mines.”

France is said to be helping the Arab coalition in demining the roads.

“We have opened the road from Hodeidah to Sanaa to allow the militias to flee without resistance,” Gargash said.

The UN envoy for Yemen carried a plan to halt fighting around the key aid port of Hodeidah where Houthi militia have been battling a regional coalition as he arrived Saturday in the militia-held capital Sanaa for emergency talks.

Martin Griffiths was expected to propose to militia leaders that they cede control of the Red Sea port to a UN-supervised committee and halt heavy clashes against advancing government troops backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

(With AFP - Reuters)