5 Yemeni troops killed in suspected Al-Qaeda attack

A Saudi soldier walks along the Kingdom’s border with Yemen in this file photo. (Reuters)
Updated 16 July 2017
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5 Yemeni troops killed in suspected Al-Qaeda attack

ADEN, Yemen: Five Yemeni soldiers were killed and three wounded Sunday when suspected Al-Qaeda-linked gunmen opened fire on a military checkpoint, an army source said.
The source said the gunmen managed to escape after the attack on the checkpoint in the northeast of Shabwa province, a southern stronghold of Yemen’s powerful Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
Sunday’s attack is the latest in a string of suspected AQAP shootings targeting military checkpoints and outposts in Yemen.
AQAP, seen by the US as the global terror network’s most dangerous branch, has exploited years of deadly conflict between Yemen’s government and Houthi rebels to expand its presence, especially in Shabwa.
A US air raid on the province last month killed AQAP leader Abu Khattab Al-Awlaqi, according to the Pentagon.
The US has intensified its air attacks on suspected AQAP sites in Yemen since President Donald Trump took office in January.
Yemen’s government, allied with a Saudi-led Arab military coalition, has for years been battling Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels for control of the country.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 8,000 people have been killed in Yemen conflict, most of them civilians, since 2015.
The country has also been hit by a deadly cholera outbreak and is on the edge of famine.


Lebanon’s minister warns over slow formation of government

Lebanon's Caretaker Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil. (REUTERS)
Updated 20 June 2018
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Lebanon’s minister warns over slow formation of government

  • Lebanon is the world’s third-most indebted nation with a debt-to-GDP ratio of more than 150 percent
  • Following May’s election, Lebanon is being run by a caretaker government

BEIRUT: Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said on Tuesday that Lebanon was not forming a new government fast enough and he had not seen serious headway made on the matter.
Political leaders and foreign donors have said Lebanon, which held a parliamentary election on May 6, needs to establish a government quickly to maintain confidence in the country and get to work on reforms to help an ailing economy.
“It is important for political forces to be aware that time is not on our or anyone’s side. Therefore we urgently need to accelerate...the formation of a new government,” Khalil said in a statement from his office.
“We have not seen serious movement in forming a government so far. As finance minister I repeat my warning and stress the need to speed it up so that the new government can get to work on the source of the problems and work on fixing them.”
Following May’s election, Lebanon is being run by a caretaker government while Prime Minister-designate Saad Al-Hariri forms a new Cabinet.
Lebanon is the world’s third-most indebted nation with a debt-to-GDP ratio of more than 150 percent. It climbed from around 130 percent in 2011, before war in neighboring Syria, and the arrival of more than a million refugees, depressed growth and paralyzed government decision-making.
The dire economic situation and unsustainable public debt levels are top priorities for the next government.
The International Monetary Fund has said Lebanon’s debt trajectory is unsustainable and needs immediate action, otherwise debt-to-GDP could hit 180 percent by 2023.