Mine blast injures Yemeni army chief-of-staff

In this file photo, Yemeni soldiers from the Popular Resistance Committees, supporting the UN-recognized government, are seen in Sirwah, west of Marib city on June 30, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 06 January 2018
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Mine blast injures Yemeni army chief-of-staff

ADEN: The chief of staff of the Yemeni army has been injured by a land mine that went off while he was visiting the northern Al-Jouf province, where heavy fighting between government forces and Houthi fighters is underway, a senior government official said.
The official said Brig. Gen. Taher Al-Aqeeli suffered minor injuries in the explosion, which happened on Friday while he was inspecting government positions in Khub wa Al-Sha’af, the largest district in Al-Jouf province.
Forces loyal to exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s government captured most of the district in heavy fighting with the Houthis last month.
Anti-Houthi forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, have intensified an offensive against the Iran-aligned group that controls most of northern Yemen since former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed after he switched sides in Yemen’s nearly three-year-old civil war.
The Houthis, who killed Saleh after they surrounded his compound in Sanaa, accused the former president of trying to sow sedition in the country. Saleh’s General People’s Congress party accused the Houthis of trying to monopolize running the country.
The Houthis said Al-Aqeeli and several of his aides were injured in the blast, describing Aqeeli’s injuries as serious.
Hadi appointed Al-Aqeeli last September, replacing Major General Mohammed Al-Maqdeshi, who was appointed as a presidential adviser.


Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda throws weight behind vote frontrunner

Updated 58 min 41 sec ago

Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda throws weight behind vote frontrunner

  • Karoui came second with 15.6 percent
  • The result was a major upset for Tunisia’s political establishment

TUNIS: Tunisia’s influential Islamist-inspired party Ennahda said on Friday it will support law professor and political outsider Kais Saied in a presidential runoff against jailed media magnate Nabil Karoui.

“Ennahda has chosen to support the people’s choice,” party spokesman Imed Khemiri told AFP after last Sunday’s first round of polling in which Saied finished ahead with 18.4 percent of the vote.

The surprise result of the election, contested by more than 20 candidates, thrust to the fore both Saied and Karoui, likewise from outside the world of traditional Tunisian politics.

Karoui came second with 15.6 percent, said the electoral commission ISIE, while Ennahda, a main force in Parliament, scored 12.9 percent with its first-ever candidate to run for the presidency, Abdelfattah Mourou.

The result was a major upset for Tunisia’s political establishment, in place since the fall of late leader Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali eight years ago after mass protests that sparked the Arab Spring revolts.

HIGHLIGHT

The surprise result of the election, contested by more than 20 candidates, thrust to the fore both Saied and Karoui, likewise from outside the world of traditional Tunisian politics.

Saied, a fiercely independent academic aged 61, advocates a radical decentralization of power, with local democracy and the ability to remove elected officials from office during their mandates.

He is also perceived as very conservative on social issues, and has defended the death penalty, criminalization of homosexuality and a sexual assault law that punishes unmarried couples who engage in public displays of affection.

Karoui, a 56-year-old media magnate, has been held in prison since Aug. 23 under investigation for alleged money laundering.

He remains eligible to run as long as any conviction does not also specifically deprive him of his civil rights, according to ISIE.

Karoui has in recent years used his popular television channel Nessma to launch high-profile charity campaigns, often appearing in designer suits as he criss-crosses the country to meet with some of its poorest.