18 dead as rebels hit Yemeni Army posts

Updated 08 June 2014

18 dead as rebels hit Yemeni Army posts

SANAA: At least eight Yemeni soldiers and 10 Al-Qaeda militants were killed in clashes on Wednesday when insurgents attacked two military posts in a southern province where the government mounted an offensive two weeks ago, military sources said.
The sources told Reuters the fighting in Gol Al-Rayda and Azzan districts of Shabwa province started early in the morning and raged for several hours. An army colonel was among the dead, a Defense Ministry source said.
The Yemeni Army had captured both Gol Al-Rayda and Azzan, as well as the Mahfad district in Abyan province, earlier this month after heavy fighting in which scores were killed on both sides.
A military source in Azzam said that eight soldiers and 10 Al-Qaeda militants were killed in the fighting. Air force planes were also striking at fleeing militants, he added.
A Yemeni journalist who specializes in covering Al-Qaeda, Abdulrazzaq Al-Jamal, reported on his Facebook page that the militants killed soldiers at a checkpoint and raised a black flag inscribed with the words “There is no god but God and Mohammed is his Prophet” on the main police station in Azzan.
Residents also said that many people were forced to stay indoors as sounds of clashes rang out over the town.
Military sources in the field said the army forced the militants to retreat, and they took with them the bodies of their dead or wounded.
Five militant vehicles were destroyed, the Defense Ministry said. Government forces also captured a number of the militants in Azzan, who were found in possession of “documents, bombs and explosives belts,” it said.


Lebanon president to chair crisis talks over weekend violence

Updated 20 min 48 sec ago

Lebanon president to chair crisis talks over weekend violence

  • The meeting will touch on “security developments” in the country
  • Lebanon has been without a government since outgoing prime minister Saad Hariri resigned on October 29

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s under-fire president is set to meet Monday with top security officials to discuss rare violence over the weekend that left hundreds wounded in the protest-hit country.

Michel Aoun will be joined by the care-taker ministers of the interior and defense as well as the chiefs of the military and security agencies in the early afternoon, his office said in a statement.

The meeting will touch on “security developments” in a country rocked since October 17 by unprecedented protests against a political class deemed incompetent, corrupt and responsible for an ever-deepening economic crisis.

It will also address “measures that need to be taken to preserve peace and stability,” the state-run National News agency (NNA) reported.

Demonstrators at the weekend lobbed stones, firecrackers and street signs at riot police, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets to clear a flashpoint road near parliament.

Over the most violent weekend in three months of street protests, some 530 were wounded on both sides, according to a toll compiled by AFP from figures provided by the Red Cross and Civil Defense.

Lawyers and rights groups have condemned the “excessive” and “brutal” use of force by security forces.

Human Rights Watch accused riot police of “launching tear gas canisters at protesters’ heads, firing rubber bullets in their eyes and attacking people at hospitals and a mosque.”

Internal Security Forces, for their part, have urged demonstrators to abstain from assaulting riot police and damaging public or private property.
Protesters had called for a week of “anger” over the political leadership’s failure to form a new government even as the debt-ridden country sinks deeper into a financial crisis.

Lebanon has been without a government since outgoing prime minister Saad Hariri resigned on October 29 in the face of popular pressure.

Political factions agreed on December 19 to appoint former education minister Hassan Diab as the new premier but have since squabbled over ministerial posts and portfolios.

Protesters have demanded a new government be comprised solely of independent experts, and exclude all established political parties.

The United Nations’ envoy to Lebanon pinned the blame for the violence on politicians.

“Anger of the people is understandable, but it is different from vandalism of political manipulators, that must be stopped,” Jan Kubis wrote on Twitter on Saturday.