Fighting subsides in Yemen’s Abyan province

Fighters loyal to Yemen's separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) reopen a highway in the southern Abyan province on May 18, 2020, following a three-hour ceasefire deal between pro-government troops and separatist forces. (AFP)
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Updated 20 May 2020

Fighting subsides in Yemen’s Abyan province

  • The STC on April 25 declared self-rule in Aden and other southern provinces, vowing to block the government’s return to Aden. Separatists put up fierce resistance, despite coming under heavy attacks from army troops

AL-MUKALLA: Fighting between government troops and separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) forces in Yemen’s southern Abyan province subsided as the Saudi-led coalition sponsored a fresh truce, local media and officials said on Tuesday.
Residents in Abyan said that the main road linking Abyan’s Shouqra with the port city of Aden was reopened for several hours on Tuesday to allow stranded travelers to return to their houses as warring forces traded fewer shells.
Last week, Yemeni government forces launched an offensive to drive out separatists from Abyan and Aden.
The STC on April 25 declared self-rule in Aden and other southern provinces, vowing to block the government’s return to Aden. Separatists put up fierce resistance, despite coming under heavy attacks from army troops.

FASTFACT

The STC said that fighting had abated after the Saudi-led coalition invited council leaders for talks with the government in Riyadh to end fighting and put into place the Riyadh Agreement.

On Tuesday, local media and members of the STC said fighting had abated after the Saudi-led coalition invited council leaders for talks with the government in Riyadh to end fighting and put into place the Riyadh Agreement.
A member of the STC, who preferred not to be named, said the council’s leader Aidaroos Al-Zubaidi would be traveling to Saudi Arabia for talks about a new truce to end fighting in Abyan and the STC’s self-rule declaration that obstructed efforts to fight the spread of coronavirus in Aden.
“Yes, president Al-Zubaidi would be traveling to Riyadh in response to an invitation from the coalition,” the STC member told Arab News.
Government officials refused to comment on reports of a truce, but local media said that the Saudi-led coalition was putting pressure on the government and STC to immediately implement the Riyadh Agreement that reduced tensions in Aden last year.


Protesters pack Tel Aviv rally against coronavirus cash crisis

Updated 43 min 2 sec ago

Protesters pack Tel Aviv rally against coronavirus cash crisis

  • Event was organized by self-employed, small business and performing artists’ groups angry at coronavirus curbs which have taken away their livelihoods

TEL AVIV: Thousands of Israelis streamed into Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square to protest Saturday against the government’s handling of economic hardship caused by coronavirus curbs.
About 300 officers were deployed in the square, a traditional protest site, to ensure public order and monitor social distancing regulations, police said.
Many participants wore facemasks but most appeared to be less than the statutory two meters (yards) apart.
Some held banners reading in Hebrew: “Let us breathe” — an echo of worldwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, during a US police arrest.
The event was organized by self-employed, small business and performing artists’ groups angry at coronavirus curbs which have taken away their livelihoods.
Student unions also took part over the large numbers of young people made jobless by closures.
Israel imposed a broad lockdown from the middle of March, allowing only staff deemed essential to go to work and banning public assembly.
Places of entertainment were closed, hitting the leisure industry hard.
Facing public and economic pressure, the government eased restrictions in late May.
But infections have mounted and rules tightened again, including the closure of event venues, clubs, bars, gyms and public pools.
While salaried workers sent on furlough received unemployment benefits, the self-employed said most had been waiting months for promised government aid.
“There is a very grave crisis of confidence between us and the government,” Shai Berman, one of the protest organizers told Israeli public radio ahead of the rally.
“We are part of a very large public which is feeling growing distress and wants to demonstrate and simply does not believe the promises,” he added.
Berman was among activists invited Friday to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and finance ministry officials in a last-minute government effort to stave off the protest.
“He tried, very politely,” Berman said, adding that an aid package presented at the meeting was a start, but flawed.
Netanyahu promised swift implementation.
“We will meet our commitments including hastening the immediate payments that we want to give you,” his office quoted him as telling the activists.
On Friday, the health ministry announced the highest number of coronavirus infections over a 24-hour period, with nearly 1,500 new cases confirmed.
The country of roughly nine million has now registered more than 37,000 cases, including over 350 deaths.