Eight killed in militia mortar strike on Yemeni village

Eight killed in militia mortar strike on Yemeni village
Tribesmen loyal to Houthi rebels hold up their weapons as they attend a gathering in Sanaa. (AP/File)
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Updated 29 November 2020

Eight killed in militia mortar strike on Yemeni village

Eight killed in militia mortar strike on Yemeni village
  • Local government officials have condemned mortar and ground attacks by rebels which they say breach the Stockholm Agreement.

AL-MUKALLA: Eight civilians, including four children and four women, were killed in a Houthi mortar attack in Yemen’s western province of Hodeidah, residents and local officials said.

The mortar fired by Houthi rebels struck a house in Al-Qazeh village, in Hodeidah’s Durihimi district, on Sunday, killing eight civilians and critically wounding seven others.

Four children and three women from the same extended family were among the injured, Fuad Maki, Durihimi’s director, told Arab News.

“This is a crime committed by Houthi militia,” Maki said, sharing graphic images of bloodstained victims.

Houthis have intensified their shelling and ground offensives in areas controlled by government forces in Hodeidah in a bid to drive loyalists from key locations in the province.

Local government officials have condemned mortar and ground attacks by rebels which they say breach the Stockholm Agreement.

Hodeidah’s Ministry of Human Rights office described the Houthi shelling as a “crime against humanity” and accused the rebels of exploiting a truce to attack residential areas in Hodeidah.

A local rights groups that documents war casualties said that militia attacks and land mines have killed more than 500 civilians since late 2018 when the agreement by signed.

In March, the internationally recognized government of Yemen suspended participation in the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) in the western province of Hodeidah after a Houthi sniper killed a government soldier.

In neighboring Taiz province, Houthi fighters are believed to have destroyed houses owned by two of their opponents.

Muhannad Al-Azzani, a local photographer, said that rebels destroyed his house and a neighbor’s residence on Saturday without giving a reason for the attack.

“The Houthi militia blew up our house next to Muhammad Ali Othman school. And (they blew up) the house of our neighbor, Amin Al-Sharabi,” Al-Azzani said on his Facebook page, attracting support and sympathy from his followers.

Even before taking power by force in late 2014, the Houthis destroyed hundreds of houses belonging to tribal leaders, army and security officers, journalists, activists and politicians who challenged their rule in the provinces of Sanaa, Amran, Taiz, Al- Bayda and Jouf.

Yemen’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday that troops and allied tribesmen pushed back a Houthi assault in the northeast of Marib province.

In Sanaa, Arab coalition planes on Sunday struck military sites around the airport controlled by the Houthis. On Friday, at least seven drone and ballistic missiles silos inside and outside the city were bombed by coalition warplanes.

In Riyadh, Prime Minister-designate Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed said on Sunday that talks on the formation of a new government have reached “the final stage.”

During a meeting with Vladimir Dedushkin, the Russian ambassador to Yemen, Saeed urged the international community to pressure the Houthis to accept peace proposals and stop attacks on maritime traffic in the Red Sea.


Hundreds protest police repression in Tunisia

Hundreds protest police repression in Tunisia
Updated 52 min 48 sec ago

Hundreds protest police repression in Tunisia

Hundreds protest police repression in Tunisia
  • Saturday’s protests come as the North African nation struggles to stem the novel coronavirus pandemic
  • The government on Saturday extended a night-time curfew from 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) to 5 a.m. and banned gatherings until February 14

TUNIS: Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Tunisian cities on Saturday to protest police repression, corruption and poverty, following several nights of unrest marked by clashes and arrests.
Saturday’s protests come as the North African nation struggles to stem the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has crippled the economy and threatened to overwhelm hospitals.
Over 6,000 people have died from Covid-19 in Tunisia, with a record 103 deaths reported on Thursday.
The government on Saturday extended a night-time curfew from 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) to 5 a.m. and banned gatherings until February 14.
But protesters took to the streets in several parts of the country, including the capital Tunis and the marginalized interior region of Gafsa, to demand the release of hundreds of young people detained during several nights of unrest since January 14.
“Neither police nor Islamists, the people want revolution,” chanted demonstrators in a crowd of several hundred in Tunis, where one person was wounded in brief clashes amid a heavy police presence.
Protests were also held in the coastal city of Sfax on Friday.
Much of the unrest has been in working class neighborhoods, where anger is boiling over soaring unemployment and a political class accused of having failed to deliver good governance, a decade after the 2011 revolution that toppled long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Economic misery exacerbated by novel coronavirus restrictions in the tourism-reliant nation have pushed growing numbers of Tunisians to try to leave the country.
“The situation is catastrophic,” said Omar Jawadi, 33, a hotel sales manager, who has been paid only half his salary for months.
“The politicians are corrupt, we want to change the government and the system.”
The police have said more than 700 people were arrested over several nights of unrest earlier this week that saw young people hurl rocks and petrol bombs at security forces, who responded with tear gas and water cannon.
Human rights groups on Thursday said at least 1,000 people had been detained.
“Youth live from day to day, we no longer have hope, neither to work nor to study — and they call us troublemakers!” said call center worker Amine, who has a degree in aerospace engineering.
“We must listen to young people, not send police in by the thousands. The whole system is corrupt, a few families and their supporters control Tunisia’s wealth.”
Tunisia last week marked one decade since Ben Ali fled the country amid mass protests, ending 23 years in power.
Tunisia’s political leadership is divided, with Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi waiting for parliament to confirm a major cabinet reshuffle announced last Saturday.