Arab Coalition: We will investigate the alleged targeting of a wedding in Yemen

Colonel Turki Al-Malki, spokesman for the Arab Coalition in Yemen, addresses a news conference in Riyadh on March 26, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 24 April 2018
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Arab Coalition: We will investigate the alleged targeting of a wedding in Yemen

  • The Arab Coalition said that it was following with concern what has been circulated in some media outlets that coalition forces allegedly targeted a wedding in the northern governorate of Hajjah
  • The spokesperson said that the coalition will announce preliminary results of this incident upon the completion of a comprehensive and operational audit

The Arab Coalition said on Tuesday that it was following with concern what has been circulated in some media outlets that coalition forces allegedly targeted a wedding in the northern governorate of Hajjah in Yemen, Saudi state channel Al -Ekhbariya reported. 

Media reports on Monday reported that an airstrike hit a wedding in the Bani Qaais district.

Coalition spokesperson Colonel Turki Al-Malki said that the joint leadership of the coalition usually reviewed post-action procedures for all its executed operations and noted that the preliminary results of this incident will be announced upon the completion of a comprehensive and operational audit.

He stressed the keenness of the joint forces to adopt and implement the rules of engagement, in accordance with the rules and provisions of international humanitarian law, the most important of which was “the assumption that every person in Yemen is a civilian until proven otherwise.”

He also stressed the commitment of coalition forces to legally and morally protect civilians and non-military installations, as well as to take all precautionary and preventive measures and ensure that military operations were in accordance with the highest standards and mechanisms of modern targeting.

He explained that these include determining the legitimate military objective to achieve operational goals. Adding that this also involved selecting and distinguishing the target and applying the principle of proportionality by taking into account the humanitarian factors and using all sources and means of intelligence to confirm it.


Militants kidnap Christian in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula

Police pursued the kidnappers into the desert to which they fled after the incident. (AP)
Updated 48 min 4 sec ago
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Militants kidnap Christian in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula

  • The attack took place about 30 km west of El-Arish

CAIRO: Extremist militants on Thursday kidnapped a Christian man traveling in a taxi in the turbulent north of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, according to security officials, an incident that raises the specter of renewed attacks on minority Christians in the region after a two-year lull.

The officials did not identify the man, but said police pursued the kidnappers into the desert to which they fled after the incident, killing one of them and wounding two others in a firefight, but could not free the hostage. Two policemen were also wounded in the firefight, said the officials.

There was no word on whether any of the other passengers traveling in the taxi, a minibus, were harmed, suggesting that the kidnapping of the Christian man could have been planned. 

The attack took place about 30 km west of El-Arish, northern Sinai’s largest city, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

A spate of attacks on Christians in northern Sinai in late 2016 and early 2017 forced nearly 300 families to flee their homes there and find refuge elsewhere in Egypt. 

Those killed included a cleric, workers, a doctor and a merchant. The last Christian to be killed in Sinai was in January 2018, when militants gunned him down as he walked on the street in El-Arish.

The militants, now led by Daesh, say they are punishing the Christians for their support of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

The spiritual leader of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Christians, whose ancient church is the country’s predominant Christian denomination, is a close ally of El-Sisi, who has made sectarian harmony a cornerstone of his domestic policy. 

El-Sisi’s patronage of the community has given Christians a measure of protection but did little to protect them from radicals, particularly in regions south of Cairo where Christians are a sizable minority.

Since 2016, Daesh militants have killed more than 100 Christians in attacks targeting churches and buses carrying pilgrims to remote desert monasteries. 

Also on Thursday, according to the officials, suspected militants sneaked into the parking lot of the main hospital in the city of Rafah on the Sinai border with the Gaza Strip and torched two vehicles before escaping. 

The incident was the latest in a recent spate of violent incidents in Rafah, most of whose residents have been evicted and compensated over the past year to deny the militants hiding places.

Nearly a year ago, the government threw into the battle against the Sinai militants thousands of troops, heavy armor, helicopter gunships and jet fighters in a bid to end the insurgency. 

The operation has significantly reduced the number of attacks and restored a near total normal life in El-Arish, on the Mediterranean coast.