Houthi militants involved in Al-Anad drone attack captured: Yemen Ministry of Interior

Yemeni soldiers evacuate the injured after a Houthi drone exploded above Yemen’s Al-Anad airbase, which killed six soldiers, in the government-held southern province of Lahj on January 10. (AFP)
Updated 15 January 2019
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Houthi militants involved in Al-Anad drone attack captured: Yemen Ministry of Interior

  • Seven people were killed in last Thursday's attack
  • Those captured confessed to the attack during interrogation

DUBAI: Yemen’s interior ministry on Tuesday said they had captured members of a Houthi cell involved in last Thursday’s attack on Al-Anad air base.

The drone attack on a Yemeni government military parade, the latest and deadliest since a cease-fire agreement for Hodeidah was signed in Sweden last month, killed six people and injured scores of others.

A seventh person died days later.

A ministry statement added the cell worked for the Houthi militia in Aden, Lahij and other liberated areas, Al-Arabiya news website reported.

Ahmed Al-Misri, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, said the militants were arrested in the past few days in the Lahij province, north of Aden, where Al-Anad airbase was located.

Al-Misri added that those arrested admitted during interrogation they carried out the assassinations and bombings in Aden, which targeted security and military officials.

The militants likewise said they received training from Houthi experts in Sanaa and Dhamar, the areas controlled by the militia.


Iraqi cleric Al-Sadr threatens to withdraw support for Abdul Mahdi’s government

Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. (AFP)
Updated 18 June 2019
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Iraqi cleric Al-Sadr threatens to withdraw support for Abdul Mahdi’s government

  • “No one can predict what Al-Sadr thinks and even his MPs do not know what the man thinks, so it is likely that this threat is part of the ongoing negotiations”

BAGHDAD: Moqtada Al-Sadr, the powerful Iraqi Shiite cleric, on Monday threatened to withdraw his support for the government of Adel Abdul Mahdi if the prime minister fails to finalize the formation of his Cabinet within 10 days.
Al-Sadr is one of the most influential clerics in the country, with millions of followers, a large armed faction and a parliamentary bloc. He is the official sponsor of the Reform Alliance, the second-largest parliamentary coalition, which is overseeing the formation of the government following the national parliamentary elections in May last year. The removal of his support for Abdul Mahdi’s government might take the form of an announcement that he no longer has confidence in the Parliament, or the organization of mass demonstrations.
Abdul Mahdi, who became prime minister in October, formed his government with the support of Reform and the pro-Iranian Construction coalition. The latter is led by Hadi Al-Amiri, the commander of Badr Organization, one of the most powerful Shiite armed factions. However, disputes between the two alliances over some of the candidates erupted at the last minute, as a result of which four ministries remain vacant: Interior, defense, education and justice.

Monday’s statement, which was signed by Al-Sadr and described as his “last call,” was addressed to his Saeiroon parliamentary bloc, the leaders of all political blocs, and Abdul Mahdi. It was issued in response to criticism on social on Monday because of the vote by members of the parliamentary blocs, including Al-Sadr’s MPs, the day before to grant all the privileges enjoyed by the former MPs to the deputies who ruled out by the Federal Supreme Court due to the error of counting their votes.
“All the political blocs must authorize the prime minister to complete his ministerial Cabinet within 10 days…and he (Abdul Mahdi) must choose (the ministers) according to the standards of integrity, efficiency and specialization, or I will not support him,” Al-Sadr’s statement read.

His position is the latest in a series of events that have put pressure on Abdul Mahdi in recent weeks. These include efforts by some political blocs, including Saeiroon, to dismiss a number of ministers under the pretext of failure to improve services and inability to combat the financial and administrative corruption that is rampant in their departments.
While most political leaders believe that reaching a political agreement on candidates to fill the vacant ministries within 10 days “will be very difficult” and predict “this may be the end of the government of Abdul Mahdi,” some believe that Al-Sadr’s goal is to pile more pressure on Abdul Mahdi as a way to obtain certain concessions.

“Saeiroon is still negotiating with the prime minister and the other political partners to obtain some key government posts that its rivals are looking to get, and Abdul Mahdi refused to give them to the Saeiroon candidates, so this could be a part of this,” said a prominent Shiite negotiator who asked not to be named. “No one can predict what Al-Sadr thinks and even his MPs do not know what the man thinks, so it is likely that this threat is part of the ongoing negotiations."