Lebanese Red Cross worker killed in south Yemen shooting

A picture taken on April 21, 2018, shows a Yemeni man looking at a Red Cross vehicle that was carrying Red Cross employee Hanna Lahoud. (AFP)
Updated 21 April 2018

Lebanese Red Cross worker killed in south Yemen shooting

  • The aid worker died in hospital of his wounds, while colleagues in the same car were unharmed.
  • Most of Taiz is controlled by forces loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, while the Houthi militia still hold many parts of the surrounding area.

Sanaa: A Lebanese Red Cross employee was gunned down in his car in war-torn Yemen's southern city of Taez on Saturday, the ICRC announced.
"I'm shocked, outraged and profoundly saddened by the killing of my colleague and friend Hanna Lahoud," tweeted Robert Mardini, Middle East director for the International Committee of the Red Cross.
"We @ICRC condemn this senseless act in the strongest possible terms," he wrote. "My thoughts go out to Hanna's wife and family in #Lebanon."
The ICRC said Lahoud, who was charge of prisoners' affairs in Yemen, was on his way to visit a prison when his car came under attack by unknown gunmen.
He died in hospital of his wounds, while colleagues in the same car were unharmed, it said in a statement.
The aid worker was killed by multiple gunshots to the heart, according to a hospital source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The back window of the car was completely shattered in the attack in the Zabab district of Taez, said an AFP photographer at the scene.
Most of Taez is controlled by forces loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, while Houthi rebels hold many parts of the surrounding area.
A colleague of Lahoud's mourned his death on Twitter:

"He saved hundreds of lives as a volunteer for the Lebanese Red Cross. He made silly jokes. He had a wonderful voice... He also beat cancer 2 years ago. Today an idiot took his life," tweeted ICRC regional spokeswoman Marie Claire Feghali.
The United Nations says the conflict in Yemen has triggered the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with over 22 million people dependent on aid and 8.4 million on the verge of famine.


US ‘disappointed’ by Turkey mosque move on Hagia Sophia

People, some wearing face masks, pray outside the Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul on July 10, 2020 as they gather to celebrate after a top Turkish court revoked the sixth-century Hagia Sophia's status as a museum, clearing the way for it to be turned back into a mosque. (AFP)
Updated 12 July 2020

US ‘disappointed’ by Turkey mosque move on Hagia Sophia

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has chipped away at the Muslim-majority country’s secularism, announced Muslim prayers on July 24 at the UNESCO World Heritage site

WASHINGTON: The US said it was “disappointed” by Turkey’s decision to turn the Byzantine-era monument Hagia Sophia back into a mosque and urged equal access for all visitors.
“We are disappointed by the decision by the government of Turkey to change the status of the Hagia Sophia,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.
“We understand the Turkish government remains committed to maintaining access to the Hagia Sophia for all visitors, and look forward to hearing its plans for continued stewardship of the Hagia Sophia to ensure it remains accessible without impediment for all,” she said on Friday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has chipped away at the Muslim-majority country’s secularism, announced Muslim prayers on July 24 at the UNESCO World Heritage site.
A magnet for tourists worldwide, the Hagia Sophia was first constructed as a cathedral in the Christian Byzantine Empire but was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.
Erdogan’s announcement came after the cancellation of a decision under modern Turkey’s secularizing founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to preserve the church-turned-mosque as a museum.

We understand the Turkish government remains committed to maintaining access to the Hagia Sophia for all visitors, and look forward to hearing its plans for continued stewardship of the Hagia Sophia to ensure it remains accessible without impediment for all.

Morgan Ortagus, State Department spokeswoman

Erdogan went ahead despite an open appeal to the NATO ally by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an evangelical Christian who frequently speaks about religious freedom.
In a statement last week, Pompeo called the museum status an “exemplar” of Turkey’s “commitment to respect the faith traditions and diverse history” of the country and said a change risked “diminishing the legacy of this remarkable building.”
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden also said on Friday he deeply regretted Turkey’s decision.
Biden called on Erdogan to reverse it “and instead keep this treasured place in its current status as a museum, ensuring equal access for all.”