By, Redhwan Nasser Al-sharif
Thursday, November 24, 2016
U.S. drone strike kills 2 al-Qaida members in central Yemen
Two members of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch were killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen's central province of al-Bayda on Thursday, a security official told Xinhua.
The U.S. airstrike targeted a motorcycle in Sawmaah district of al-Bayda province, leaving two al-Qaida militants killed on the spot, the local security source said on condition of anonymity.
According to the anti-terror Yemeni security source the dead included a local commander of the terrorist group.
The source said that nationalities or identities of the killed al-Qaida operatives are not known at this point.
Local residents confirmed that two missiles were fired from the U.S. drone on al-Qaida militants riding a motorcycle in Sawmaah area.
Yemen, an impoverished Arab country, has been gripped by one of the most active regional al-Qaida insurgencies in the Middle East.
The AQAP, also known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, emerged in January 2009. It had claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks on Yemen's army and government institutions.
Yemen's war-damaged Hodeidah port struggles to bring in vital supplies
With its dockside machinery destroyed in an air strike at the beginning of Yemen's 20-month-old war, the major Red Sea port of Hodeidah is struggling to unload food and fuel needed ever more urgently by a population riven with hunger and disease, Reuters reported..
Controlled by the Iran-aligned Houthi group, Hodeidah was the entry point for what port officials say was 70 percent of the Yemen's food imports as well as humanitarian aid. Food deliveries have been cut by more than half, they say.
Before the war, which has killed 10,000 people and displaced three million, the port bustled with workers, sailors and shipping agents trying to ensure smooth delivery of vital supplies to the impoverished country's 26 million people.
Last week, dozens of workers gathered outside the office of the chairman of the port shouting to be allowed in to ask for work or financial support.
Jets from the Saudi-led Arab coalition, fighting to force the Houthis out of territory they seized last year, disabled the port's four giant cranes and they are still out of action, officials say. Other dockside machinery has also been destroyed.
Rubble from last year's Aug. 17 air strike still lies strewn on the dockside.
"There is no more work left for us," said Ahmed Abdo, a port worker, sipping water to cool himself in the hot weather.
"We used to have three or four ships at the port and we would unload them in two or three days. Now, only ships with their own cranes are allowed to enter."
UN Bodies Urged to Relocate Offices to Aden
PM says relocating the main offices of UN bodies would encourage other humanitarian aid organisations to follow suit
Al Mukalla: Yemen’s prime minister has urged international aid organisations to shift their main offices from Al Houthi-held Sana’a to the southern city of Aden, the temporary capital of Yemen.
At a meeting with Rashid Khalikov, assistant secretary-seneral for humanitarian partnerships with the Middle East and Central Asia, Ahmad Obaid Bin Daghar said on Tuesday relocating the main offices of UN bodies would encourage other humanitarian aid organisations to follow suit and would accelerate aid distribution, adding that his government would also ask foreign ambassadors to relocate to Aden, Gulf News reported..
Security has improved considerably in Aden since government forces deployed thousands of soldiers in all districts and purged armed groups who used to wreak havoc in Yemen’s second city. Government forces backed by military support from the Saudi-led coalition kicked Al Houthis out of Aden in July. Al Qaida exploited the security vacuum in the city during fighting and deployed fighters in Aden’s Mansoura district.
Separately, local officials in the province of Marib said on Wednesday that coalition’s air defence shot down a missile fired at the city of Marib, apparently targeting the military bases of army troops and the coalition. Al Houthis have fired at least a dozen ballistic missiles at Marib since early last week. All of them were intercepted before reaching their targets.
Yemen: Loyalists 'holding doctors at gunpoint, terrorising medical staff'
Anti-Houthi fighters in Yemen's southern city of Taiz are forcing doctors to work at gunpoint and terrorising hospital staff, Amnesty International has said.
The human rights group has accused pro-government troops of storming hospitals demanding their own wounded are treated immediately and threatening to kill staff.
Al-Thawra, the biggest hospital in Taiz, was raided and shut down on Monday, Amnesty researchers found, apparently in retaliation for staff treating three injured Houthi fighters.
"There is compelling evidence to suggest that anti-Houthi forces have waged a campaign of fear and intimidation against medical professionals in Taiz," said Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
"There can be no excuse for harassing medical staff or preventing doctors from carrying out their life-saving work. Attacks targeting health professionals or medical facilities are prohibited by international humanitarian law and can constitute war crimes."
According to eyewitnesses, three armed men stormed an office at the hospital and threatened to kill medical staff if it was not shut down immediately.
They also tried to drag the two surviving Houthi fighters out of intensive care and recovery units, but were prevented by medical staff. The hospital is now only partially functioning, providing only limited emergency services and dialysis, despite a week of bloody clashes in the contested city.
Comment: When it Comes to Yemen, our Indifference is Deadly
By: Rima Kamal
When I first started my career as a humanitarian working in war zones, I figured it would only be a matter of time before I became thick-skinned in the face of human suffering. In my line of work, death and destruction is all around, and misery is in the air we breathe.
After many years in the field, I’m still waiting to become immune to the horrors.
My home for the past year has been Yemen, a desperately poor country bordering the much larger Saudi Arabia to the north, and Oman to the east.
In this troubled nation, armed conflict has been raging for more than 18 months. Three million people have lost their homes, while 7000 have died and countless others have been injured, maimed and psychologically scarred. No family has been untouched by the fighting. And yet, against a backdrop of a Middle East region marked by violence, the global community appears indifferent to the crisis unfolding in Yemen
scarred. No family has been untouched by the fighting. And yet, against a backdrop of a Middle East region marked by violence, the global community appears indifferent to the crisis unfolding in Yemen.
Most of us don’t have the time or the energy to stand back and take stock of the real people behind the death tolls.
What little news we do hear of the situation focuses on statistics and death tolls, far removed from the very real and raw anguish of the people who have been left broken by this war. People such as Saddam - a middle-aged widower I met earlier this year whose experiences characterise the largely untold story of Yemeni suffering.
This ruthless conflict has visited upon Saddam trauma that has changed his life forever. During recent fighting in his home town of Taiz, Saddam’s house was shelled while he and his family were sheltering inside. His wife and only daughter were severely injured in the bombardment and, unable to escape, forced to endure a slow and painful death. Saddam had desperately wanted to take them to the hospital, but he would have had to carry them on a donkey amidst sniper bullets and shelling. And so he waited for a lull in the combat. A lull that, heartbreakingly, came too late.
A year earlier, Saddam lost his job as a janitor at one of the leading schools in the city, after it was forced to close its doors due to the fighting. With employment opportunities close to zero, he soon found himself roaming the streets to put food on the table. “Yes, I have become a beggar,” he told me defiantly. “I roam the streets together with my sons begging for money, and looking for food leftovers; sometimes in garbage containers.
“This conflict has taken everything away from us. I have lost everything, my dignity included. There is nothing left of who I used to be.”
We can’t afford to become immune to human suffering.
Saddam’s experiences are, unfortunately, not exceptional. Thousands of Yemenis have similar painful stories to tell. But their desperation has been overlooked by a global community that is seemingly overwhelmed and fatigued by news of conflict and disaster. Most of us don’t have the time or the energy to stand back and take stock of the real people behind the death tolls.
Nonetheless, Saddam’s story deserves to be told. He has a right to be heard. It is not the numbers that pull us in, it is the people.
Currently, Yemen is a nation of shattered men and women. Families torn apart. Children bereft of their right to go to school. Young boys and girls who are bearing testimony to atrocities far bigger and heavier than their young souls can bear.