Abu Dhabi TV cameraman among 7 civilians killed in Yemen bomb

Ziad Al-Sharabi, a cameraman for Abu Dhabi TV, was killed in the attack and correspondent Faisal Al-Thubhani was injured. (Twitter/Screenshot)
Updated 29 January 2019
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Abu Dhabi TV cameraman among 7 civilians killed in Yemen bomb

  • The improvised explosive device was planted on a motorcycle parked in the middle of the market
  • Ziad Al-Sharabi was killed and his reporter colleague wounded

DUBAI: A bomb attack in a market killed seven Yemeni civilians including a cameraman for a UAE television channel in the government-controlled town of Mokha on Tuesday.
At least 20 people were wounded in the overnight blast in the Red Sea town, where pro-government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition battling the Houthi militants are based.

The blast killed Ziad Al-Sharabi, a cameraman for Abu Dhabi TV and wounded Faisal Al-Thubhani, a correspondent for the same network, the official WAM news agency reported.

Abu Dhabi Media general manager, Dr Ali bin Tamim blamed the Houthi militia for the attack and said they have repeatedly targeted the media.

"This is not the first time that our frontline crews in Yemen have been exposed to Houthi violations and terrorist acts," he said.  "We will not stop exposing their brutal crimes and terror acts in Yemen on all our media platforms.”

The improvised explosive device was planted on a motorcycle parked in the middle of the market, an official in the pro-government forces said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the Yemeni government news agency Saba blamed it on the Iran-aligned Houthis.
The city of Mokha has enjoyed relative calm since government forces, backed by an Arab coalition that includes the UAE and Saudi Arabia, seized it from the rebels in July 2017.
Yemen’s war was sparked by the Houthis decision to seize the capital Sanaa in 2014.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said, prior to Al-Sharabi's death, that at least 16 journalists have been killed in Yemen since 2015.


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."