Deadly Yemen attack sparks calls to ‘name and shame’ Houthi militia

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center has stepped up its winter relief efforts in Yemen to alleviate the suffering of the people there. (SPA)
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Updated 05 December 2020

Deadly Yemen attack sparks calls to ‘name and shame’ Houthi militia

Deadly Yemen attack sparks calls to ‘name and shame’ Houthi militia
  • Missile strike kills 10 workers as UN warns up to half of Yemenis face acute food shortages

AL-MUKALLA, Yemen:  A missile strike by Iran-backed Houthis that killed 10 workers in an industrial complex in the western Yemeni city of Hodeidah has led to calls for the rebels to be “named and shamed” over the targeting of civilians.

The deadly attack on Thursday brings to 51 the total number of civilians killed or wounded in similar strikes since Nov. 22, residents and local officials told Arab News.

A local security officer said that six workers were also wounded when the Houthi missile landed inside the Thabet Brothers warehouse complex.

“The missile was aimed precisely at the plant,” the officer, who declined to be named, told Arab News.

He rejected claims that government forces were responsible for the attack, saying: “The missile was launched from an area under Houthi control. The parts of Hodeidah where the plant is located are under our control.”

Media outlets affiliated with the Giants Brigades, a military unit fighting for the government, first reported that four workers were killed and eight wounded in the missile strike, showing graphic images of several corpses. Later, they reported that 10 civilians were killed and six wounded.

Along with other business operations in Yemen, the Hodeidah industrial complex has been a frequent target of Houthi rebels, most recently on Nov. 18 when shelling sparked a huge fire at the site.

Yemeni Information Minister Muammar Al-Aryani strongly condemned the latest Houthi attack, urging the UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths and the UN mission in Hodeidah to “name and shame” the rebels for the civilian deaths.

“We condemn in strongest terms the heinous terrorist crime committed by Iranian-backed Houthi militia today with the targeting of the Thabet Brothers complex in Hodeidah,” he said on Twitter on Thursday.

On Friday, an explosive-laden drone targeting the southern part of Saudi Arabia was intercepted and destroyed by the Arab coalition backing Yemen’s internationally recognized government.

Coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Turki Al-Maliki said that the booby-trapped drone was aimed at civilians and civilian facilities in the region.

Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, later condemned the attempted strike.

The condemnation came as a UN report warned that famine-like conditions have returned to parts of Yemen, with almost half the population facing major food shortages.

Aid agencies say time is running out to prevent mass starvation.

About 45 percent of Yemen’s population is facing acute food insecurity, according to a UN analysis, with more than 16,500 people on the brink of famine.

Houthis have stepped up ground attacks and mortar shelling on government areas in Hodeidah since early last month in a bid to end months of military stalemate and seize control of new areas in the province.

In seven days alone between Nov. 22 and Nov. 29 land mines and shelling by the militants killed and wounded 35 people in several locations in Hodeidah.

The deadliest attack was on Nov. 29 when a Houthi mortar attack killed eight people and wounded several others in a village in Hodeidah’s Durihimi district.

Militia attacks on civilian targets have triggered widespread condemnations from inside and outside Yemen as activists and officials call for more pressure on the Houthis.

Ahmed Atteq, director of Durihmi’s office of the Ministry of Human Rights, told Arab News on Friday that his office has made many appeals for an end to militia attacks on civilians.

“The latest escalation in attacks on civilians is a clear violation of Stockholm Agreement,” he said. “The accord has never been implemented by the Houthis.”


Istanbul court resumes trial of Turks in Ghosn escape case

Istanbul court resumes trial of Turks in Ghosn escape case
Updated 20 January 2021

Istanbul court resumes trial of Turks in Ghosn escape case

Istanbul court resumes trial of Turks in Ghosn escape case
  • Trial is trying to piece together the details of how former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn fled Japan in December 2019

ISTANBUL: An Istanbul court on Wednesday resumed the trial of seven Turkish suspects accused of helping smuggle former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn “in a large musical instrument case” from Japan to Lebanon.
The trial is trying to piece together the details of how Ghosn — a French-Lebanese-Brazilian national who was a global business superstar when his career came crashing to an end — fled Japan in December 2019 while out on bail facing financial misconduct charges.
The 66-year-old fugitive was arrested in November 2018 and spent 130 days in prison before completing an audacious escape act that humiliated Japanese justice officials and raised questions about who was involved.
The hearing concerns an employee with Turkey’s MNG Jet private airline who allegedly used four pilots and two flight attendants to move Ghosn from Japan to Lebanon via Istanbul.
The pilots and the MNG Jet employee are accused of “illegally smuggling a migrant” and face up to eight years in jail. A hearing in July released them on bail but barred them from leaving Turkey.
The two flight attendants are accused of failing to report a crime and face one-year sentences.
All seven suspects deny the charges.
The indictment says the escape plan from Japan to Lebanon involved a stopover in Istanbul instead of a direct flight “so as not to arouse suspicions.”
Former US Green Beret member Michael Taylor and his son Peter are accused together with Lebanese national George-Antoine Zayek of recruiting MNG Jet and overseeing the secret operation.
The Taylors are currently fighting extradition from the United States to Japan and the whereabouts of Zayek are unclear.
The indictment says Taylor and Zayek put Ghosn “in a large musical instrument case” and then took him through security at Japan’s Osaka airport.
They allegedly opened “70 holes at the bottom of the case for him to breathe easily.”
The indictment says the plane landed at Istanbul’s old Ataturk airport and parked near another plane bound for Beirut.
MNG Jet employee Okan Kosemen then allegedly jumped off the Osaka plane and boarded the one destined for Beirut together with Ghosn.
The indictment says Kosemen received several payments into his bank account totalling 216,800 euros and 66,990 dollars in the months before Ghosn’s flight.
He is also accused of being paid an unidentified amount after Ghosn’s arrival in Beirut.
Kosemen has denied being paid to help Ghosn escape while the pilots and flight attendants say they were unaware he was on board any of the plane’s flights.
MNG filed a complaint last year alleging its aircraft was used illegally.
It added at the time that one its employees had admitted to falsifying the flight manifest to keep Ghosn off the passenger list.