Yemen anti-terror operation ‘very successful’

Yemeni security forces stand guard at the site where a suicide car bomb exploded next to the central bank in Yemen's second city Aden in this October 29, 2016 photo. (AFP)
Updated 09 November 2016

Yemen anti-terror operation ‘very successful’

ADEN: An elite Yemeni force killed 30 suspected Al-Qaeda fighters in the southeast of the country in a 24-hour operation that ended Wednesday, the army said.
The force raided an Al-Qaeda hideout west of the port city of Mukalla in a “very successful” operation that lasted 24 hours, it said in a statement.
It said that 30 suspected militants were killed and several others were captured, increasing a Tuesday death toll of six alleged militants.
Four Yemeni troops were also killed and 12 were wounded in the fighting, it added.
The militants were “planning to carry out terrorist attacks” in the country, already torn apart by a 19-month-long conflict between Iran-backed rebels and loyalist forces supported by the coalition, the army said.
Mukalla was the most populous Yemeni city under Al-Qaeda control until government troops and coalition special forces recaptured it in April, ending a year of militant rule.
But the rebels regrouped in the surrounding mountains from where they have carried out a series of deadly attacks.
A security official told AFP on Tuesday that troops launched a “preemptive operation” against the extremists, who continued to pose a threat to Mukalla.
In July, suicide bombings claimed by Al-Qaeda killed 11 people at two army checkpoints in the city. The previous month, Al-Qaeda’s rival, Daesh, claimed a wave of suicide bombings that killed at least 42 people in Mukalla.
The militants have exploited the conflict to consolidate their grip on parts of the south.
Washington regards Al-Qaeda’s Yemen-based branch as its most dangerous and has kept up a long-running drone war against its commanders.


German defense minister rejects Turkey complaint over Libya weapons ship search

Updated 24 November 2020

German defense minister rejects Turkey complaint over Libya weapons ship search

  • Germany insists it acted correctly in boarding a Turkish ship to enforce arms embargo of Libya
  • Turkey summoned European diplomats to complain at the operation

BERLIN: Germany’s defense minister on Tuesday rejected Turkey’s complaints over the search of a Turkish freighter in the Mediterranean Sea by a German frigate participating in a European mission, insisting that German sailors acted correctly.
Sunday’s incident prompted Turkey to summon diplomats representing the European Union, Germany and Italy and assert that the Libya-bound freighter Rosaline-A was subjected to an “illegal” search by personnel from the German frigate Hamburg. The German ship is part of the European Union’s Irini naval mission, which is enforcing an arms embargo against Libya.
German officials say that the order to board the ship came from Irini’s headquarters in Rome and that Turkey protested while the team was on board. The search was then ended.
Turkey says the search was “unauthorized and conducted by force.”
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer backed the German crew’s actions.
“It is important to me to make really clear that the Bundeswehr soldiers behaved completely correctly,” she said during an appearance in Berlin. “They did what is asked of them in the framework of the European Irini mandate.”
“That there is this debate with the Turkish side points to one of the fundamental problems of this European mission,” Kramp-Karrenbauer added, without elaborating. “But it is very important to me to say clearly here that there are no grounds for these accusations that are now being made against the soldiers.”
This was the second incident between Turkey and naval forces from a NATO ally enforcing an arms blockade against Libya.
In June, NATO launched an investigation over an incident between Turkish warships and a French naval vessel in the Mediterranean, after France said one of its frigates was “lit up” three times by Turkish naval targeting radar when it tried to approach a Turkish civilian ship suspected of involvement in arms trafficking.
Turkey supports a UN-backed government in Tripoli against rival forces based in the country’s east. It has complained that the EU naval operation focuses its efforts too much on the Tripoli administration and turns a blind eye to weapons sent to the eastern-based forces.
In Ankara, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that Irini was “flawed from the onset.”
“It is not based on firm international legal foundations,” Akar said. He renewed Turkey’s criticism of the German ship’s actions.
“The incident was against international laws and practices. It was wrong,” he said.
Kramp-Karrenbauer stressed that “Turkey is still an important partner for us in NATO.” Turkey being outside the military alliance would make the situation even more difficult, she argued, and Turkish soldiers are “absolutely reliable partners” in NATO missions.
But she conceded that Turkey poses “a big challenge” because of how its domestic politics have developed and because it has its “own agenda, which is difficult to reconcile with European questions in particular.”