Yemen Cabinet, UN envoy condemn Houthi attack

Shards of glass and a door that came off following an attack on the UN De-escalation and Coordination Committee building in Dhahran on Monday. (SPA)
Updated 01 February 2017

Yemen Cabinet, UN envoy condemn Houthi attack

ADEN: The targeting of the UN De-escalation and Coordination Committee building in Dhahran Al-Janoub by Houthi militias and troops loyal to deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh is a clear expression of their violent tactics and of lack of respect for the international community, said the Yemeni Cabinet.
According to the Yemeni news agency SABA, Tuesday’s Cabinet statement accused the coup militia of continuing to disrupt the work of the coordination committee and of refusing to begin cease-fire talks that would eventually end the war it ignited, playing the destabilizing and destructive Iranian game.
In the statement, the Cabinet said the coup militia will continue to act in a manner that destabilizes the country, including by targeting naval vessels and using the Hodeidah port for military purposes as long as the international community allows it to get away with its refusal to implement its binding, explicit and clear decisions designed to put an end to the coup and restore the legitimate government.
The legitimate government of Yemen and the Yemeni people condemn the horrible criminal act that targeted the UN building housing its staff, which is a violation of all humanitarian and international covenants and norms, said the statement.
The government had warned the UN and the international community against the intentions of Houthi and Saleh militias, which refuse to comply with UN resolutions and the popular will in Yemen, which rejects the coup.
The Cabinet reiterated that attacks such as Tuesday’s expose the terrorist nature of the militias and the Iranian sectarian project whose ambitions exceed the Yemeni borders.
The statement called for the restoration of the legitimate government, an end to the coup and the application of the terms of reference agreed upon with local and international stakeholders for a political solution as suggested in the Gulf initiative, of the recommendations of the National Dialogue and of Security Council Resolution 2216.
Meanwhile, UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Sheikh condemned the attack on the UN building, which he described as “tragic and is not a sign of good faith.”
In a statement, Ould Sheikh said the attack took place “at a time when we are calling for a new cessation of hostilities,” adding that the building attacked by the militias was to host the committee that will oversee the cessation of hostilities and report on violations.
He also said that the UN maintains a regular presence in that building and urged the Houthi and Saleh’s rebel militias to commit to and support the De-escalation and Coordination Committee’s work toward a renewed cease-fire.
Ould Sheikh said that the warring parties in Yemen can only benefit from a rapid and long-lasting cessation of hostilities, stressing that an improvement in the security situation is bound to give space to dialogue.
In his last week’s briefing of the Security Council, Ould Sheikh said that those who seek a military solution in Yemen are only prolonging the suffering of the people and allowing the terrorist threat to increase, which adds to the challenges and will delay recovery after the war ends.
He also said that the two warring parties need the political courage and will to stop the two-year-old war.


Suspected arson at East Jerusalem mosque

Israeli border policemen take up position during clashes with Palestinian demonstrators at a protest against Trump's decision on Jerusalem, near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank March 9, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 25 January 2020

Suspected arson at East Jerusalem mosque

  • The attack had the appearance of a “price tag” attack, a euphemism for Jewish nationalist-motivated hate crimes that generally target Palestinian or Arab Israeli property

JERUSALEM: Israeli police launched a manhunt on Friday after an apparent arson attack, accompanied by Hebrew-language graffiti, at a mosque in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem.
“Police were summoned to a mosque in Beit Safafa, in Jerusalem, following a report of arson in one of the building’s rooms and spraying of graffiti on a nearby wall outside the building,” a police statement said.
“A wide-scale search is taking place in Jerusalem,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. “We believe that the incident took place overnight. We are searching for suspects.”
The spokesman would not say if police viewed it as a hate crime. The graffiti, on a wall in the mosque compound and viewed by an AFP journalist, contained the name Kumi Ori, a small settlement outpost in the north of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The Times of Israel newspaper said on Friday that the wildcat outpost “is home to seven families along with roughly a dozen extremist Israeli teens.”
“Earlier this month security forces razed a pair of illegally built settler homes in the outpost,” it reported.
All settlements on occupied Palestinian land are considered illegal under international law, but Israel distinguishes between those it has approved and those it has not.
The paper said: “A number of young settlers living there were involved in a string of violent attacks on Palestinians and (Israeli) security forces.”
Police said that nobody was injured in the mosque incident.
The attack had the appearance of a “price tag” attack, a euphemism for Jewish nationalist-motivated hate crimes that generally target Palestinian or Arab Israeli property in revenge for nationalistic attacks against Israelis or Israeli government moves against unauthorized outposts like Kumi Ori.
“This is price tag,” Israeli Arab lawmaker Osama Saadi told AFP at the scene.
“The settlers didn’t only write words, they also burned the place and they burnt a Qur’an,” said Saadi, who lives in the area.
Ismail Awwad, the local mayor, said he called the police after he found apparent evidence of arson, pointing to an empty can he said had contained petrol or some other accelerant and scorch marks in the burned room.
“The fire in the mosque burned in many straight lines which is a sign that somebody poured inflammable material,” he said.
There was damage to an interior prayer room but the building’s structure was unharmed.
In December, more than 160 cars were vandalized in the Shuafaat neighborhood of east Jerusalem with anti-Arab slogans scrawled nearby.
The slogans read “Arabs=enemies,” “There is no room in the country for enemies” and “When Jews are stabbed we aren’t silent.”
The attackers were described by a local resident as “masked settlers.”