12 killed, 51 wounded in Yemen clashes

ADEN: Fierce clashes between rebels and pro-government forces killed dozens across south Yemen on Saturday, threatening to derail a humanitarian ceasefire drawn up to bring vital aid to the war-wracked country. The five-day truce initiated by a Saudi-led coalition expires late on Sunday, and Riyadh has already warned it was “ready to act” against any ceasefire violations. In the latest violence, at least 12 civilians were killed and 51 wounded when the Houthi rebels shelled several neighbourhoods in Yemen’s third city of Taiz, military and local sources said. The clashes came after overnight fighting killed 26 Houthi rebels and militiamen loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh as well as 14 pro-government forces, military sources said. The United Nations has expressed deep concern about the civilian death     toll from clashes. It says more than 1,500 people have died in the conflict since late March. Some aid has begun to trickle into Yemen since the pause in fighting, but residents of areas where clashes persist complain they remain without the most basic supplies. The fighting in Taiz overnight forced many to flee to the countryside. “Humanitarian aid hasn’t reached Taiz, where we haven’t received fuel, food or medical equipment,” said a government official in the city. The United Nations has called for the Saudi-led coalition to simplify import inspections after warning that supplies were still blocked. UN co-ordinator Johannes van der Klaauw warned that the inspections, introduced under an arms embargo slapped on the Houthi rebels last month, were hampering aid deliveries. “The arms embargo and its inspection regime results in commercial goods, be it by air or by ship,...

Egypt judge’s home targeted, 4 wounded

CAIRO: Suspected militants set off three small bombs on Sunday outside the home of an Egyptian judge who sentenced radicals to death, wounding four people and damaging the building, police said. Judge Mutaz Khafagi, who had also sentenced Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie to life in prison, was in his first-floor apartment in the suburban Cairo building but was not injured in the explosions, a police official said. Khafagi had sentenced 12 men to death in August 2014 after convicting them of murdering a police general in the town of Kerdasa near Cairo during a police crackdown targeting supporters of Muhammad Mursi, the president ousted in 2013. Militants have carried out dozens of bombings across the country, often using small rudimentary devices, since Mursi’s overthrow by the army. Building security caught one of the “terrorists” who planted the bombs on Sunday after they emerged from a taxi, the police official said. The other suspect escaped and remotely detonated the bombs after a crowd of onlookers gathered outside the house, the official said. “The explosions damaged the facade of the judge’s home… and broke the windows of three cars parked outside, including the judge’s car,” the officer said. One of the four wounded civilians was taken to hospital with a neck injury and the others sustained minor wounds, a Health Ministry official said.  ...

Multiple blasts kill 8 in Baghdad

 BAGHDAD: Officials in Iraq say separate bombings outside the capital, Baghdad, have killed at least eight people. A police officer said a suicide car bomber attacked a police and army checkpoint on Sunday in the town of Tarmiyah, killing five security members and wounding 10. The town is about 50km north of Baghdad. Police say another car bomb killed three civilians and wounded eight at an outdoor market in Taji, about 20km north of Baghdad. Two medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to release the information. The attacks come amid heightened security in Baghdad to protect thousands of Shiite pilgrims marching to a shrine of a revered Imam to commemorate his 8th-century death. The mayor of an Iraqi town where more than 42 inmates escaped in a prison break claimed by the Daesh group said on Sunday that serious security failures were to blame. The interior ministry said an investigation had been opened into the prison break in Khalis, in a statement issued on Saturday that also mentioned “shortcomings in prison administration.” “Lack of intelligence was the main reason behind the prison break. If we had had information, this would not have happened,” Uday Al Khadran said by phone. He said that 42 prisoners escaped in Friday’s break-out, while 35 others were killed as well as six members of the security forces and three civilians who rushed to help. “The attack was planned, there were IEDs (improvised explosive devices) on the roads,” Khadran said, confirming details of the attack provided in the Daesh claim on Saturday. He...

Suicide attacks on Iraqi Shi’ite mosques kill 22

Militants in Iraq have carried out a series of suicide attacks on Shi’ite mosques in the country’s northeast, killing at least 22 worshippers, including a senior police officer. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings but they bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State extremist group, which has carried near-daily attacks – along with other Sunni militant groups – against the Shi’ite majority, Iraqi officials and security forces. The IS considers Shi’ites heretics and has, since last year, captured large chunks of territory in western and northern Iraq, plunging the country into its worst crisis since US troops left at the end of 2011. In the town of Balad Ruz, a suicide car bomber attacked the al-Zahraa mosque as worshippers were leaving after the Friday mid-day prayers, a police officer said. A second suicide bomber on foot then attacked the crowds gathered in the aftermath. The twin attacks in Balad Ruz, located about 70 kilometres northeast of Baghdad, killed at least 18 people and injured at least 41. Among the dead were the leader of the town’s police commandos, Col. Adnan Mohammed al-Timimi, and two policemen, the official added. Separately, a suicide bomber drove his car into worshippers as they were leaving the Imam Hussein Shi’ite mosque in the town of Kanaan, about 75 kilometres northeast of the Iraqi capital, the police officer added. Four people were killed and at least 18 wounded in that attack. Friday’s bombings came ahead of next week’s major Shi’ite event commemorating the anniversary of the 8th century death of a revered religious figure, Imam Mousa al-Kazim, when thousands of pilgrims march to...

Mass Executions Continue in Northern Iraq; 167 Killed

At least 167 were killed and 17 were wounded: In Baghdad, a female body was found in Labs. Gunmen killed a civilian inGhazaliya. Fourteen militants were killed during operations al-Khatimiya and al-Alimiya. Another 16 militants were killed in al-Kanazer and al-Masuliyah. In Mosul, militants executed 20 civilians accused of helping people escape the city. A roadside bomb killed six militants and wounded three more. A body was found in Sabaa al-Bour. An I.E.D. wounded a civilian in Meshahda. In Baquba, a bomb wounded three policemen. A roadside bomb killed five people and wounded six more. Four Peshmerga were wounded in a blast near Jalula. Security forces in Garma killed 59 militants. In the Sinjar region, airstrikes left 24 militants dead on Saturday. Airstrikes resumed Sunday after civilians residential areas were bombed. Fifteen militants were killed in strikes in Ramadi. Turkmen forces killed five militants trying to plant bombs in Bashir....

ISIS Claims Responsibility for Baghdad Car Bomb Attack

ISIS on Sunday claimed responsibility for a late-night car bomb attack in Baghdad that killed at least 19 people, saying it was targeting a Shiite militia, according to The Associated Press.   The two car bombs went off about 10 minutes apart late Saturday in the Karrada district, known for its restaurants, cafes and ice cream parlors.   Police said the dead and wounded were mainly shoppers and people commemorating the death of Imam Ali, a key figure in Shiite Islam. Two traffic policemen were among those killed, according to AP. Sunday’s claim of responsibility by ISIS is similar to previous claims this past week, in which the terrorists characterized the attacks as a response to fighting in the western Anbar province.   There has been a spike in terrorist attacks in Baghdad over the last week, including an attack in which eight Iraqis were shot dead and dumped in the Iraqi capital.   An interior ministry official and a tribal leader said the men, who were found in the capital’s Jihad area, were people who had fled violence in Anbar, but a police colonel and a medical source said their identities were still not known.   Those killings came a day after a woman and two children were shot dead in the Abu Dsheer area of Baghdad.   Interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan said the Abu Dhsheer killings may have been related to “a family problem” and that the incident was being investigated, but rumors had circulated online that the three were killed by displaced people from Anbar, raising the possibility that subsequent attacks on people from the province may have been...