Yemen hostage crisis claimed by Daesh ends with 35 dead

Yemeni men and security forces inspect the site of a suicide bombing in the southern port city of Aden, on Nov. 5, 2017. Al-Qaeda suspects carried out twin suicide bombings and took hostages, officials said, as they struck at the heart of the Yemeni government after suffering a string of setbacks. (AFP)
Updated 06 November 2017

Yemen hostage crisis claimed by Daesh ends with 35 dead

ADEN: Yemeni forces ended a hostage crisis Monday with 29 police and six civilians dead, a day after the attack claimed by the Daesh group began with suicide bombings, official sources said.
Assailants on Sunday stormed the criminal investigations unit in Aden, the Yemeni government’s de facto capital, setting it alight and taking hostages after killing two policewomen execution-style.
The attack began on Sunday, when two suicide bombers blew themselves up at the entrances to the criminal investigations unit and the city’s security headquarters.
Overnight, the security forces tried three times to seize back the unit, but each time a suicide bomber blew himself up, stopping them from entering, a security official said.
A fourth suicide bombing occurred on Monday morning, before the security forces finally brought an end to the standoff in the southern port city.
A total of 29 members of the security forces were killed during the attack and hostage crisis, the official said.
Among them were six police officers whose bodies were found buried under the rubble of the building along with six civilians, including two children.
“The security forces have managed to enter the building and clear it of the elements of evil and terrorism,” said the interior ministry of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s internationally recognized government.
The bullet-riddled bodies of three assailants were also found in the rubble, the security official said.
The attack was claimed by IS in a statement released online on Sunday.
Daesh and its extremist rival Al-Qaeda have taken advantage of the war between the Saudi-backed government and Houthi terrorist militia allied with Iran to bolster their presence across much of south Yemen.
The Hadi government has been based in Aden since the Houthis drove it out of the capital Sanaa in 2014.
More than 8,650 people have been killed in Yemen since Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the war in 2015 to support government forces, according to the World Health Organization.


Iraqi PM promises to boost protection for US embassy

Updated 13 min 22 sec ago

Iraqi PM promises to boost protection for US embassy

  • US says one person injured in latest attack on the compound in Baghdad
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi to uphold his country’s sovereignty

BAGHDAD: The Iraqi prime minister has promised to strengthen security for the US embassy in Baghdad after one person was injured in the latest missile attack on the compound.
Adel Abdul Mahdi stressed, in a phone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday, the importance of respecting Iraq’s sovereignty by everyone.
He also said there was a need to de-escalate tensions in the region, according to a statement from his office.
Gen. Frank McKenzie, a top US commander for the Middle East, said on Monday mortars were used in the attack on the embassy that injured one person and caused some material damage the previous night, not katyusha rockets as was initially reported by staffers and a statement from the military.
The mortar attack started a fire that was put out. He said no US military members were injured, but that one US national received a minor injury but has returned to work.
The US embassy is within the Iraqi capital’s Green Zone, and has been a flashpoint amid wider regional tensions between the US and Iran, which have played out inside Iraq in recent weeks. Iraqi supporters of an Iran-backed militia stormed the embassy compound on Dec. 31, smashing the main door and setting fire to the reception area.
An initial military statement said at least five katyusha rockets had landed inside the Green Zone late Sunday. It was the third attack targeting the US embassy this month, and the perpetrators were not immediately known. Perpetrators had used katyusha rockets in previous attacks and caused no injuries.
There was no claim of responsibility for any of the attacks. But the US has accused Iran-backed militias of targeting US interests by attacking military bases housing Americans and diplomatic missions.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi to uphold his country’s “sovereignty” in the face of “attacks” from Iran on US facilities in Iraq.
Pompeo “expressed his outrage at the continued assaults by Iran’s armed groups against US facilities in Iraq, including yesterday’s rocket attacks against our Embassy, which resulted in one injury,” the State Department said in a statement.
The statement said that “these attacks demonstrate a wanton disregard for Iraqi sovereignty and a failure to rein in these dangerous armed groups.”
Pompeo said on Twitter that “the government of #Iraq must take immediate steps to protect our diplomatic facilities as required by international law.”

* With AP/AFP