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

  • 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)


Libya strongman Haftar in Greece ahead of peace meeting

Updated 14 min 4 sec ago

Libya strongman Haftar in Greece ahead of peace meeting

  • Greece seeking to build ties with Haftar after the GNA signed a maritime and military cooperation deal with Turkey in November
  • Haftar thanked Vladimir Putin for his efforts to bring peace in Libya after Moscow announced that the Russian leader would attend Sunday’s conference

ATHENS: Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar was holding talks in Athens on Friday two days ahead of a peace conference in Berlin, which he and the head of Tripoli’s UN-recognized government Fayez Al-Sarraj are expected to attend.
Haftar thanked Vladimir Putin, his “dear friend,” for his efforts to bring peace in Libya after Moscow announced that the Russian leader would attend Sunday’s conference.
However, Russia’s acting foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Haftar and Sarraj could not even bear each other’s presence, let alone talk.
“So far ties between them are very tense, they don’t even want to be in the same room to say nothing of meeting each other,” Lavrov said.
World powers are trying to mediate a lasting cease-fire nine months after Haftar’s forces launched an assault on Tripoli, sparking fighting that has killed more than 280 civilians and 2,000 fighters and displaced tens of thousands.
An interim truce that came into force on Sunday has mostly held, despite accusations of violations from Haftar’s forces and the rival Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).
Haftar walked away from cease-fire talks in Moscow on Monday, but German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas visited his eastern Libya stronghold of Benghazi on Thursday to persuade him to join the Berlin conference.
He flew to Athens on a surprise visit on Thursday, with Greece seeking to build ties with Haftar after the GNA signed a maritime and military cooperation deal with Turkey in November.
Athens is vehemently opposed to the contentious Turkish deal with Libya, which claims much of the Mediterranean for energy exploration in conflict with rival claims by Greece and Cyprus.
Haftar met Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and they were holding further talks on Friday. He is also set to meet Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Greece is seeking to take part in the Berlin talks but has yet to be invited.
Haftar agreed in principle on Thursday to go to Berlin after Sarraj signalled he would be there.
But Sarraj, whose GNA did sign up to a permanent truce deal in Moscow, cast doubt over Haftar’s intentions after he refused to sign.
The oil-rich North African state has been in turmoil since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that overthrew and killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
Numerous countries have since become involved — the GNA is backed by Turkey and Qatar, while Haftar has the support of neighboring Egypt as well as Russia and the United Arab Emirates.
The United Nations said the Berlin talks aim to end foreign interference and division over Libya.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will take part and voiced support for truce efforts, the State Department said on Thursday.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Wednesday for firm support for the peace talks and asked for a halt in the fighting.
In a report to the Security Council he warned against “external interference,” saying it would “deepen the ongoing conflict and further complicate efforts to reach a clear international commitment to a peaceful resolution of the underlying crisis.”
The conference will aim to agree six points — including a permanent cease-fire, implementation of a much-violated UN arms embargo and a return to political efforts for peace, Guterres said.
Turkish troops have been deployed to support the GNA, while Russia, despite its denials, is suspected of supporting Haftar with weapons, money and mercenaries.
Some 11 countries and several international organizations are set to attend along with the Libyan parties.
The fighting has spurred a growing exodus of migrants, many embarking on rickety boats toward Italy.
Nearly 1,000 intercepted at sea have been forced to return to the war-ravaged country since January 1, mostly ending up in detention, the UN’s International Organization for Migration said on Tuesday.