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.


Israeli planes strike Hamas targets in Gaza

Updated 18 June 2018
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Israeli planes strike Hamas targets in Gaza

  • The attacks targeted two Hamas military sites and a munitions manufacturing site
  • “Fire balloons” and kites carrying flammable material have become symbols of the Palestinian border protests in recent months

JERUSALEM: Israeli warplanes on Monday conducted strikes against nine Hamas “military targets” in the northern Gaza Strip in response to incendiary kites being sent into Israeli territory, the army said.
The attacks targeted two Hamas military sites and a munitions manufacturing site, the military said in a statement, without specifying whether the raids had resulted in casualties.
“Fire balloons” and kites carrying flammable material have become symbols of the Palestinian border protests in recent months.
The Israeli army on Saturday wounded two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip attempting to launch incendiary balloons across the border into Israel, officials said.
Since major border protests broke out at the end of March, more than 300 fires have devastated several thousand hectares of fields and shrubland, the Israeli fire service has said.
According to Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, 400 kites have been intercepted from some 600 launched since the start of the recent protests.
At least 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire in the same time span. No Israelis have been killed.
Palestinians are calling to return to the homes their families fled or were forced from in 1948 during the war surrounding the creation of Israel.
The Gaza Strip is controlled by the Islamist movement Hamas which Israel considers its chief enemy.
The two sides have fought three wars since 2008 and observe a tense cease-fire.