UN silence on Houthi aid truck attacks in Yemen ‘unacceptable’

The army launched artillery raids targeting Houthi reinforcements sent to Sufyan directorate in an effort to retake strategic sites it had lost. (File/AFP)
Updated 02 September 2018
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UN silence on Houthi aid truck attacks in Yemen ‘unacceptable’

  • A Yemeni military source said the army continued its advance toward Hajjah province, where it liberated several villages and other strategic locations
  • Yemen’s army killed more than 140 Houthi militants during clashes in the northwestern province of Saada

JEDDAH: Yemen’s High Relief Committee (HRC) has condemned an attack by the Houthi militia, which targeted a truck carrying relief supplies from the World Food Programme (WFP) in Hodeidah.
The committee said in a press statement that the Iranian-backed militia had bombed a truck carrying relief and humanitarian aid for the residents of the Al-Tahita directorate, killing the driver.
The statement added that the committee has previously alerted to such actions by the Houthis, which are aimed at obstructing the safe access of relief materials to the directorates of Al-Tahita and Al-Drehami, in particular, and other directorates in Hodeidah province, in general, and have a direct impact on the humanitarian situation in the area.
Yemeni Minister of Local Administration and HRC Chairman, Abdul Raqeeb Fateh, blamed the Houthi militia for impeding rapid humanitarian access to those in need, the bombing of trucks and relief vessels in Hodeidah port, and the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the province.
He said in a statement to the official Yemeni news agency that the “continuous and guaranteed targeting of relief trucks and field personnel, especially from UN organizations, by the Houthi militants places the United Nations and other organizations in a position of humanitarian and moral responsibility to defend its staff working in the humanitarian field in Yemen.”
Fatah called on Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, Lisa Grande, to condemn the “criminal act, which contravenes all international and humanitarian laws,” and to notify the UN, including the Security Council, of all violations committed by the Houthi militias against relief work and to make the necessary and significant solutions to stop these acts and violations.
The minister denounced the continued silence of the humanitarian affairs coordinator and international organizations on these incidents as unacceptable, calling on the international community to take full responsibility for the suffering of the people in Hodeidah and to take the necessary measures to immediately halt all violations by militias against relief efforts, especially since the terrorist group has committed many violations that have paralyzed the work of relief organizations and kidnapped many relief and humanitarian workers in the province.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s army, backed by the Arab Coalition, killed more than 140 Houthi militants during clashes in the northwestern province of Saada, according to Saudi state-news channel Al-Ekhbariya.
A Yemeni military source said the army continued its advance toward Hajjah province, where it liberated several villages and other strategic locations.
Elsewhere, the army launched artillery raids targeting Houthi reinforcements sent to Sufyan directorate in an effort to retake strategic sites it had lost.


Is a spate of terror incidents in Egypt a ‘last dance’ for militants or a failure in security operations

Updated 15 min 46 sec ago
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Is a spate of terror incidents in Egypt a ‘last dance’ for militants or a failure in security operations

  • Some have speculated that the sudden spate of incidents is the militants lashing out to spoil the image that Egypt is returning to stability

CAIRO: Three terrorist attacks in the space of as many days have raised questions over whether the Egyptian security forces have brought extremist militancy in the country under control.

The attacks between Friday and Monday came after a period of relative calm. The Egyptian military has been involved in an extensive operation against terrorist groups in their stronghold in the Sinai Peninsula for more than a year. Police forces have also been carrying out operations against cells in a large number of governorates.

The first of the three incidents was a failed attempt to plant a bomb near security forces in Cairo on Friday. On Saturday, however, a massive blast killed 14 members of the military on a security mission near El-Arish in Sinai.
The third bombing on Monday could have been just as deadly. A suicide bomber blew himself up after he was chased by police in the densely populated Al-Hussein district of Cairo near Al-Azhar Mosque. In the end three officers were killed.
The attacks came after months of relative calm in an insurgency that began after the Muslim Brotherhood president Muhammad Mursi was removed from power in 2012.
Since then, militants have targeted the Egyptian security forces, churches, coptic Christians, tourists and ordinary Egyptians, killing hundreds.
In November 2017, gunmen carried out the deadliest terror attack in Egyptian history — killing more than 300 people at a Sufi mosque in northern Sinai.

In response, the military launched a vast operation in February last year to “eliminate terrorism in Egypt.” The operation is ongoing.

Some have speculated that the sudden spate of incidents is the militants lashing out to spoil the image that Egypt is returning to stability.

“[Terrorists] want to give Egypt a bad image to foreigners living abroad, on order to make a point. They want to abort the democratic reform process that Egypt’s been implementing in the past period,” MP Mohamed Maher Hamed told Arab News.

Author and political analyst Walid Qutb said Egypt is keen to host more important regional and international events and forums, including the African Nations football tournament, and a drop in terror-related incidents is key to this.

He said the return of terrorist operations at this time is an attempt to send a clear message that Egypt is not a safe country. What the extremists have done recently is a final dance and lost, Qutb said.
But political analyst Nabil Omar told Arab News that the elimination of terrorism requires more than just maintaining security forces.
There needs to be improved education and the spreading of correct information to improve the mentality of Egyptians, he said.
“I don’t think that the return of terrorist operations happening currently is linked to changes in politics in Egypt,” Omar said. “It has nothing to do with how well security is either. “Terrorist attacks are happening because the terrorists in question have decided to do so.”
The recent incidents in Cairo are both strange, Omar said. They targeted police forces in locations packed with civilians.
This could mean that terrorists want their attacks to be even bigger and deadlier, even if that comes at the cost of the innocent or unarmed.
“The positive thing here is that these recent terrorist attacks came after a long period of silence. During that period of time, the Egyptian military had the upper hand in relation to the terrorists – who used to be more in control before,” Omar said.
The attacks came after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi described to the Munich Security Summit this week the Egyptian experience in regards to terrorism.