Houthi militants attack Yemen government forces, 8 killed

This picture taken on November 6, 2019 shows a general view of a street in Yemen's second city and port of Aden. (AFP)
Updated 09 November 2019

Houthi militants attack Yemen government forces, 8 killed

  • Attack took place in Mocha town and targeted military positions
  • Houthis use drones and missiles, three civilians among the dead

SANAA: Yemen's Houthi militants  staged missile and drone attacks Wednesday on forces allied with the country's internationally recognized government in a Red Sea town, killing at least eight people, including three civilians, and causing large fires, military officials said.
Wadah Dobish, a spokesman for government forces on Yemen's western coast, told The Associated Press at least four missiles fired by the Iran-backed Houthis struck warehouses used by the allied force known as the Giants Bridges in the port town of Mocha. He said their defenses intercepted at least three other missiles.
Dobish said at least three Houthi drones also took part in the attack, which caused huge explosions and fires that spread to residential areas. The media arm of the Giants Bridges force posted footage online showing flames and explosions were heard apparently from the warehouses.
Officials said at least 12 people, mostly fighters, were wounded in the attacks.
A statement from the government forces on the western coast said the attacks also targeted a refugee camp and a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in the town.
The medical aid group did not immediately respond to an AP request seeking a comment.
Houthi officials, meanwhile, said Giant Bridges fighters fired dozens of shells at the rebel-held town of Durayhimi, just south of the Hodeida port city.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
The escalation could jeopardize a UN-brokered cease-fire in Hodeidah. The port city is the main entry point for humanitarian aid to Yemen, where more than five years of war have spawned the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with near-famine conditions in some areas.
Last year heavy fighting erupted in Hodeidah after government forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition moved in to wrestle control of the strategic city from the Houthis.
After month of clashes, the two sides reached a cease-fire agreement for the city, and both also agreed to withdraw their forces from the port and the two smaller ports of Salif and Ras Issa. 
The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by the Iranian-backed Houthis. A Saudi-led coalition allied with the government has been fighting the Houthis since March 2015. 

Court testimony claims Turkish general killed after discovering Qatar extremist funding

Updated 04 August 2020

Court testimony claims Turkish general killed after discovering Qatar extremist funding

  • Explosive courtroom transcript says Brig. Gen. Semih Terzi was killed because he knew too much about Turkish general's murky dealings in Syria
  • Turkish officials accused of embezzling money sent from Qatar to arm Syrian militants

LONDON: A Turkish general killed during a failed coup was executed after he found out Qatar was funneling money to extremist groups in Syria through Turkey, according to explosive courtroom claims.

Brig. Gen. Semih Terzi was shot dead in July 2016 during an attempt by some military officers to overthrow the government of Recip Tayyip Erdogan. The alleged plotters were accused of being followers of the exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen.

According to a courtroom transcript obtained by the anti-Erdogan Nordic Monitor website, Terzi’s killing was ordered by Lt. Gen. Zekai Aksakalli, the then head of Turkey’s Special Forces Command.

The website claims the testimony came from Col. Firat Alakus, who worked in the intelligence section of the Special Forces Command, during a hearing at the 17th High Criminal Court in Ankara in March, 2019.

Alakus said Terzi had discovered that Aksakalli was working secretly with the Turkish intelligence agency (MIT) in running illegal operations in Syria for personal gain.

“[Terzi] knew how much of the funding delivered [to Turkey] by Qatar for the purpose of purchasing weapons and ammunition for the opposition was actually used for that and how much of it was actually used by public officials, how much was embezzled,” Alakus said. 

He added that Terzi’s knowledge of Aksakalli’s murky dealings was the real reason Aksakalli ordered his execution.

Terzi was killed after Aksakalli ordered him back to Ankara from a border province as the failed coup attempt unfolded, Alakus said.

Other accounts say Terzi was one of the main coup plotters and was killed leading an attempt to capture the special forces headquarters in the capital.

Along with the Qatari claim, Alakus said Terzi also knew the details of Turkey’s involvement in oil smuggling from Syria and how government officials aided extremist militant commanders.

He also objected to Turkish intelligence supplying weapons and training to extremist Syrian factions who were passed off as moderate opposition fighters.

“[Terzi’s murder] had to do with a trap devised by Zekai Aksakalli, who did not want such facts to come out into the open,” Alakus said.

Alakus was jailed for life in June 2019 after being convicted for taking part in the coup.