Assassination of Aden University dean sparks outcry in Yemen

An image of Dr. Naja Ali Moqbel, the dean of the Faculty of Sciences shared by Yemeni activists on Twitter.
Updated 17 May 2018
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Assassination of Aden University dean sparks outcry in Yemen

  • The nation was shocked by the assassination of Dr. Naja Ali Moqbel, the dean of the Faculty of Sciences, and her son Sameh and granddaughter, after a gunman stormed her home
  • The university president had convened an emergency meeting in the wake of the killings, appointing a task force mandated to press for a timely and transparent investigation of the case

ADEN: The University of Aden has condemned the murder of its dean of sciences and her son and granddaughter, who were killed in her apartment in the de facto government capital of Yemen.
“The academic community, the city of Aden, and all of Yemen were shocked by the assassination of Dr. Naja Ali Moqbel, the dean of the Faculty of Sciences, and her son Sameh and granddaughter, after a gunman stormed her home,” a statement said Wednesday.
Neighbours of Dr. Moqbel in the western Inma residential district managed to catch the gunman and the security services arrived soon after, according to the statement.
It said the university president had convened an emergency meeting in the wake of the killings, appointing a task force mandated to press for a timely and transparent investigation of the case.
Yemen’s prime minister, Ahmad bin Dagher, condemned the “despicable” killings of Dr. Moqbel, her son Sameh and granddaughter Lian, in a statement carried by the state-run Saba news agency.
He said President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi had issued directives for security agencies to merge under the umbrella of the Interior Ministry to facilitate information sharing.
Abdelaziz bin Habtour, the prime minister of the so-called Houthi government and the former governor of Aden, also condemned the assassination.
“The academic community has lost a distinguished colleague, one of the best members of the Faculty of Science at the University of Aden,” he said, highlighting her scholarly contributions and books in a statement carried by the Houthi-controlled Saba news agency.

Several others took to social media condemning the killings and paying tribute to the family. 




The southern port city has also seen a string of assassinations against religious figures in recent weeks.
Aden has served as the base of Yemen’s internationally recognized government since Iran-backed Houthi militia overran the capital Sanaa in 2014.
And in January, southern separatists backed by the UAE attacked government loyalist forces in Aden, overrunning the city. The government was forced to hunker down until Saudi and Emirati envoys arrived to quell the infighting.


US believes Daesh likely responsible for Manbij blast

Updated 37 min 47 sec ago
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US believes Daesh likely responsible for Manbij blast

  • US government sources say the Pentagon and other national agencies are investigating the bombing
  • This is one of the deadliest attacks on US forces in Syria since their deployment in 2015

WASHINGTON: The US government believes the Daesh militant group is likely responsible for Wednesday’s attack in northern Syria that killed four Americans, although it has not reached a firm conclusion, two US government sources said on Thursday.
The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Pentagon and other US agencies were investigating who carried out the attack in Manbij, Syria.
Officials studying the incident are not dismissing Daesh’s claim of responsibility for the blast, which killed two US troops and two civilians working for the US military, and regard it as plausible if not likely, one of the sources said.
The attack occurred nearly a month after President Donald Trump confounded his own national security team with a surprise decision on Dec. 19 to withdraw all 2,000 US troops from Syria, declaring Daesh had been defeated there.
The Manbij attack appeared to be the deadliest on US forces in Syria since they deployed on the ground there in 2015 and it took place in a town controlled by a militia allied to US-backed Kurdish forces.
If Daesh carried out the attack, that would undercut assertions, including by US Vice President Mike Pence several hours after the blast on Wednesday, that the militant group has been defeated.
Experts do not believe Daesh has been beaten despite its having lost almost all of the territory it held in 2014 and 2015 after seizing parts of Syria and Iraq and declaring a “caliphate.”
While the group’s footprint has shrunk, experts believe it is far from a spent force and can still conduct guerilla-style attacks. A Daesh statement on Wednesday said a Syrian suicide bomber had detonated his explosive vest in Manbij.
Trump’s Dec. 19 announcement was one of the reasons his former defense secretary, Jim Mattis, resigned. It stunned allies and raised fears of a long-threatened Turkish military offensive against US-backed Kurdish forces in northern Syria.
How and when US forces leave has deepened uncertainty in northern Syria, with Turkey and Syrian President Bashar Assad ready to fill the vacuum.
The US-backed YPG militia that is allied to the fighters holding Manbij last month invited Assad into the area around the town to forestall a potential Turkish assault. Syrian army troops entered the area soon after.
The YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces vowed on Thursday to ramp up attacks on Daesh remnants.