Arab Coalition in Yemen confirms Sanaa blood bank was bombed by mistake

JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour
Updated 03 October 2019

Arab Coalition in Yemen confirms Sanaa blood bank was bombed by mistake

  • The incident was one of four reviewed by Coalition forces

RIYADH: The Arab coalition in Yemen has admitted accidentally bombing the National Center for Blood Transfusion and Research in Sanaa.

According to a report by Yemen’s National Committee for the Investigation of Allegations of Human Rights Violations, the medical facility was struck on April 27 this year by a concrete bomb that destroyed part of the building and much of the equipment inside.

The incident was one of four reviewed by Coalition forces. The results of the reviews were announced on Wednesday by Mansour Al-Mansour, a spokesman for the Coalition’s Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT).

He said that investigators had examined the scene of the airstrike at the blood transfusion center and taken statements from medical and administrative staff who work in the building, which is about 200 meters from a gas station at a Yemeni Special Security Forces camp.

A defect in the bomb was blamed for the mistake and he added that Coalition nations will provide assistance to repair the damage caused by the bomb.

Al-Mansour said that JIAT refuted the remaining three allegations. In the first, it was claimed that a farmhouse had been bombed in Aslan, in the Baqim district of Saada governorate, on Nov. 2, 2017, killing seven members of the farmer’s family, including three children.

Al-Mansour said JIAT found that Coalition forces carried out only one air mission that day, which targeted a legitimate military target: a building used as a weapons depot by Houthis, located 3.8 kilometers from Baqim.

Coalition forces were also accused of striking a house near Al-Nasr school in the Qabbaytah district of Lahj governorate on June 21, 2016. There was no mention of any injuries or deaths. Al-Mansour said that JIAT reviewed all air missions on that date and established that the coalition was not responsible for the attack.

The third alleged coalition incident involved an air strike in Sanaa on May 27, 2018 that injured an unknown number of civilians, including children, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

After reviewing the daily mission schedules, JIAT said that the day before the date of the claim, Coalition forces carried out an aerial mission on a legitimate military target, a gas station, in Sanaa. This attack was previously reviewed by JIAT and the findings announced on May 22, 2019. The day after the date of the latest claim, Coalition forces carried out an aerial attack on a cave being used as a weapons store in a Houthi militia camp. Two guided bombs hit the target, which was 20 km from Sanaa. Al-Mansour added that JIAT found the Coalition did not carry out any aerial missions in Sanaa on the date of the claim.


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.”