Multiple explosions kill 6, wound several in Baghdad

Violence peaked in Iraq during 2006 and 2007, when sectarian tensions were at their highest. (AP)
Updated 06 November 2018
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Multiple explosions kill 6, wound several in Baghdad

  • Washington and Tehran have competed for influence in Iraq since the 2003 US invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

BAGHDAD: Explosions in several Shiite-majority districts in Iraq’s capital late Sunday killed six people, most of them civilians, and wounded several others, police and medical sources said.
In northern Baghdad’s Aden roundabout area, two civilians were killed and another six wounded by a blast near a bus stop, the sources told AFP.
A bomb in the nearby Tarmiyah neighborhood targeted a military convoy, killing a soldier and wounding two others.
A government employee was killed in the southwestern area of Al-Sahha when explosives attached under his car were detonated, according to a police officer and medical source.
In the eastern district of Sadr City, two people were killed and four wounded in two explosions in the Shiite neighborhood.
And two other blasts went off on buses in other parts of Baghdad’s northeast, wounding seven.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for any of the explosions.
Sadr City is the former bastion of the Mahdi Army. Violence peaked in Iraq during 2006 and 2007, when sectarian tensions were at their highest.
But it has fallen across Iraq and particularly Baghdad since the government declared victory over Daesh in December.
Clandestine militant cells remain across the country and have waged guerrilla-type attacks against government posts.
Separately, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry rejected recently what it called US interference in its affairs after the US Embassy issued a statement telling neighboring Iran to respect Iraq’s sovereignty.
The US Embassy in Baghdad had posted a message on Twitter saying Tehran must “respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi government and permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration” of Shiite militias.
It was one of several statements issued on the embassy’s Twitter account outlining US demands before new US sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sector took effect on Nov. 4. The sanctions worry Iraq as it imports crucial supplies from Iran.
Iraq’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement it “rejects interference in Iraq’s internal affairs, especially domestic security reform” and demanded the Twitter post be removed.
Washington and Tehran have competed for influence in Iraq since the 2003 US invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
Iraq’s Shiite militias, which took part in a US-backed campaign to defeat Daesh, were formally included in the security forces this year. Some militias are backed by Iran, a majority Shiite nation. Washington wants them disarmed. The US has said it would grant Baghdad a waiver on Iranian gas and energy imports that feed Iraqi power stations, and vital food items, Iraqi officials said on Friday.


Houthi militia ‘must respect neutrality of aid workers’

Updated 19 January 2019
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Houthi militia ‘must respect neutrality of aid workers’

  • The recommendations came as UN monitors try to strengthen a cease-fire in the port of Hodeidah
  • Houthis were blamed for an attack on a UN convey on Thursday

 NEW YORK: UN experts monitoring sanctions against Yemen are recommending that the Security Council urge the Houthis to respect the neutrality and independence of humanitarian workers.

The Associated Press has obtained the nine recommendations the panel of experts made in their latest report to the council.

The recommendations came as UN monitors try to strengthen a cease-fire in the port of Hodeidah, key to the delivery of 70 percent of Yemen’s imports and humanitarian aid, and arrange a withdrawal of rival forces from the area agreed to by the government and the Houthis on Dec. 13.

While the agreement in Stockholm was limited, if fully implemented it could offer a potential breakthrough in Yemen’s four-year civil war.

The experts asked the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against Yemen to engage with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s office, Yemen’s government and donors to “enhance” the UN mission inspecting vessels heading to ports in Yemen for illegal arms so it can “identify networks using false documentation to evade inspection.”

They also suggested that Guterres organize a conference with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank as well as other “key actors to best manage cash flows and imports of goods,” using the principles of the UN Global Compact on how companies should conduct business.

And the experts recommended that the secretary-general ask the UN inspection mission and monitors at the port of Hodeidah “to share information on potential cases of acts that threaten the peace, stability and security of Yemen,” including violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, the UN arms embargo, and obstructions of humanitarian assistance.

The experts also asked the sanctions committee to consider sending three letters. One would be to Abu Al-Abbas, a militia commander in the flashpoint city of Taiz, asking him to transfer artifacts and items from the Taiz National Museum in his custody to Yemen’s government. 

A second would be to alert the International Maritime Organization to “the risks posed by anti-ship cruise missiles and water-borne improvised explosive devices in the Red Sea and to encourage it to discuss these threats with the commercial shipping industry with the aim of developing suitable precautions and countermeasures.”

The third would be to alert the International Civil Aviation Organization of the risks posed by drones and munitions to civil aviation, particularly near busy international airports on the Arabian Peninsula “and encourage it to discuss these threats with airport operators and airlines with the aim of developing suitable precautions and countermeasures.”