Yemen radical party members held, ratcheting up tensions

Pro-government fighters are seen outside a military camp near airport in the southern Yemeni city of Aden in this file photo. Security forces have arrested 10 members of an Islamist partner in the internationally-recognized government, increasing tensions, the Islah party said on Wednesday. (AFP file photo)
Updated 12 October 2017
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Yemen radical party members held, ratcheting up tensions

ADEN: Security forces in the southern Yemeni city of Aden arrested 10 members of a radical partner in the internationally recognized government, the Islah party said on Wednesday.
Aden is dominated by local forces backed by the UAE, a key member of the Saudi-led coalition that intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015 to restore President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to power but is hostile toward hard-liners.
The arrests could raise tension within the coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi movement and forces loyal to deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh who seized much of northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.
Islah said security forces raided the home of its No. 2 man in Aden, Mohammed Abdel-Malek, and arrested him, along with a member of the party’s local Shoura Council as well as a local militia commander.
Security forces also closed down the party’s office in Al-Qaloua district of Aden, Islah said in a statement.
A security source in Aden confirmed four people were arrested and said the move was related to the assassination of a Salafi imam in Aden on Tuesday by a bomb planted in his car.
While both in the radical camp, Salafis and Islah are at odds as some of the former back a secession of south Yemen while the latter wants the Arabian Peninsula state to remain intact.
It was unclear if the arrested Islah members had been formally charged.
“(Islah) directs a call to public opinion, the government and the coalition demanding they shoulder their responsibility to swiftly release brother Abdel-Malek and his colleagues and to stop these arbitrary measures,” Islah’s statement said.
With thousands of fighters deployed on battlefronts against the Houthis, Islah has been an important ally of Hadi and the Saudi-led coalition trying to reinstate his government.
But Islah, seen as linked with the Muslim Brotherhood, has come under pressure since a rift erupted between Qatar and the Anti-Terror Quartet — comprising the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia — in June over allegations Qatar backs radical militants. Qatar denies this.
Since the coalition intervened in Yemen, Islah has tried to distance itself from the Brotherhood in an effort to ease Gulf rulers’ anxiety about its radical ideology.
The Brotherhood denies accusations from conservative Arab governments of involvement in terrorism, saying it seeks change only by peaceful means.


Manama charges 169 over terror ring

Updated 11 min 13 sec ago
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Manama charges 169 over terror ring

  • Prosecutors also accused Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard of providing arms and training for the militants

ABU DHABI: Bahrain charged 169 people on Tuesday with being part of a militant group they referred to as the “Bahraini Hezbollah.” 

Prosecutors said in a statement they already have 111 people in custody after a series of raids on the island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia. Charges against suspects in the case range from attempted murder to damaging property, as well as illegally possessing and hiding weapons.

It offered no names for the accused. It wasn’t immediately clear if they had legal counsel.

Prosecutors also accused Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard of providing arms and training for the militants. 

In recent years, the kingdom has revoked the citizenship of over 700 people since 2012, including 115 in a mass terrorism trial in May.

Amid the crackdown, local Shiite militant groups have carried out several attacks on security forces.

“The Public Prosecution had been informed by the Department of criminal investigation ... that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have ordered some of their members to work on unifying different Bahraini militant groups,” the statement said.

“(The groups) would get involved in one terrorist organisation which they called Bahrain’s Hezbollah,” it said, adding the group was planning to send Bahrainis to Iraq, Lebanon and Iran for military training. A trial is set for Oct. 3, Bahrain News Agency said.

The kingdom has seen occasional unrest since 2011.

Bahrain is a strategic island where the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based.