17 civilians killed in third attack on Yemen market

17 civilians killed in third attack on Yemen market
The UN considers the war in Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. (File/AFP)
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Updated 26 December 2019

17 civilians killed in third attack on Yemen market

17 civilians killed in third attack on Yemen market
  • The UN said 12 Ethiopian migrants were among the 17 civilians killed in the incident
  • The UN says 89 civilians have either been killed or wounded in the attacks on the market

SANAA: Seventeen civilians were killed in an attack in a market in Yemen’s northern Saada governorate, the United Nations said, the third deadly assault on the same location in just over a month.
The attacks come despite relative calm in Yemen, where large-scale combat between government troops and the Iran-aligned Houthi militia has subsided.
The UN said 12 Ethiopian migrants were among the 17 civilians killed in the incident on Tuesday at the Al-Raqw market in Saada governorate, a Houthi stronghold.
At least 12 people were wounded, it said, without saying who was responsible or what weapons were used.
Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted Arab coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki on Thursday as saying his coalition command is investigating an attack that targeted the Houthi militia on Tuesday in Saada’s district of Monabbih. That’s the same area where Al-Raqw market exists. 
He said the attack might have resulted in “accidental losses” and “collateral damages,” adding that all the documents relating to the incident have beeb referred to the Joint Incident Assessment Team and the results of the investigation will be made public.
“We underscore the Joint Forces Command’s commitment to applying the highest standards of targeting and implementing the customary international humanitarian law in its military operations. We will take all necessary procedures pertaining to incidents to achieve the highest levels of accountability and transparency,” he said.
An attack on Al-Raqw market on November 22 killed 10 civilians, again including Ethiopian nationals, and just days later, at least another 10 civilians were killed and 22 wounded in a second such incident.
The UN says 89 civilians have either been killed or wounded in the attacks on the market. Local Houthi rebel authorities heavily restrict access to journalists and rights groups into the region of Saada, which has seen some of the war’s worst fighting.
Yemen’s conflict erupted in 2014, when the Houthis overran the capital, Sanaa, and much of the north, pushing out Yemen’s internationally recognized government and ushering in a civil war that has killed tens of thousands of people. The fighting has also left millions suffering from food and medical shortages and pushed the country to the brink of famine.
The UN considers the war in Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
(With AFP and AP)


Foreign forces ignore UN’s Libya exit deadline under fragile truce

Foreign forces ignore UN’s Libya exit deadline under fragile truce
In this file photo taken on November 19, 2020, a Libyan stands in front of a school, which was damaged during fighting between rival factions, in the capital Tripoli's suburb of Ain Zara. (AFP)
Updated 24 January 2021

Foreign forces ignore UN’s Libya exit deadline under fragile truce

Foreign forces ignore UN’s Libya exit deadline under fragile truce
  • Ankara and Moscow appear intent on defending their interests under any final settlement

TRIPOLI: Foreign forces ignored a deadline to pull out of Libya as scheduled on Saturday under a UN-backed cease-fire deal, highlighting the fragility of peace efforts after a decade of conflict.

Satellite images broadcast by CNN show a trench running tens of kilometers dug by “Russian mercenaries” near the frontline coastal city of Sirte, as main foreign protagonists Ankara and Moscow appear intent on defending their interests under any final settlement.
An unidentified US intelligence official, quoted by the American news network, said there was “no intent or movement by either Turkish or Russian forces to abide by the UN-brokered agreement.”
“This has the potential to derail an already fragile peace process and cease-fire. It will be a really difficult year ahead,” he said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged all “regional and international actors to respect the provisions” of the Oct. 23 cease-fire accord that set out a withdrawal within three months of all foreign troops and mercenaries.
That deadline passed on Saturday, with no movement announced or observed on the ground.
The UN estimates there are still some 20,000 foreign troops and mercenaries in Libya helping the warring factions, the UN-recognized Government of National Accord in Tripoli and military strongman Khalifa Haftar in the east. The GNA has received military support from Turkey. Haftar has the backing of Russia.
Guterres called on all parties to implement the terms of the cease-fire “without delay,” something he noted “includes ensuring the departure of all foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya, and the full and unconditional respect of the Security Council arms embargo,” which has been in place since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted and killed longtime ruler Muammar Qaddafi.

HIGHLIGHT

The UN estimates there are still some 20,000 foreign troops and mercenaries in Libya helping the warring factions.

Any withdrawal or end to foreign interference “does not depend on the Libyans but on the outside powers,” said Khaled Al-Montasser, professor of international relations at Tripoli University.
Turkey on Friday welcomed a deal reached at UN-backed talks for Libya’s warring factions to set up an interim executive to rule the North African country until polls in December.
Turkey has backed the GNA with military advisers, materiel and mercenaries, repelling an advance on Tripoli by Haftar’s forces, and it also has a military base in Al-Watiya on the border with Tunisia under a 2019 military accord.
Last December, parliament in Ankara extended by 18 months its authorization for Turkey’s troop deployment in Libya, in apparent disregard of the cease-fire deal.
“The mercenaries are unlikely to leave Libya so long as the countries which have engaged them have not guaranteed their interests in the new transitional phase,” said Montasser, referring to the multiple tracks of UN-sponsored talks currently underway.
“Their presence keeps alive the threat of military confrontation at any moment, while the current calm staying in place seems uncertain,” he said.
Most of the foreign forces are concentrated around Sirte, at Al-Jufra airbase held by Haftar’s forces 500 km south of Tripoli and further west in Al-Watiya.