Twin car bomb attacks kill 31 people in Yemen
SANAA // At least 31 people, including 20 children, were killed in two car bomb explosions in central Yemen’s Radaa city on Tuesday.
The first bomb exploded near a checkpoint manned by Shiite Houthi rebels while a school bus was passing, while the second car bomb exploded near the house of an official in the area, who is rumoured to be a Houthi supporter.
Radaa is a bastion of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which views Shiites as heretics, and Houthis as pawns of Iran.
A raucous session of the Yemeni parliament came to an abrupt end on Tuesday after loyalists of the ousted president derailed a vote of confidence on the new government’s programme.
Disputes broke out about internal party affairs, forcing the speaker of the house to call off the session.
The government had called for an emergency sitting to discuss the country’s security situation.
The same day, Houthi gunmen — who seized control of Sanaa in September — surrounded the Yemeni ministry of defence and packed the city’s nearby streets, preventing the minister from accessing his office. A day earlier, the minister had removed rebels from around the ministry for blocking his chief of staff from entering.
Yemen has been gripped by a power struggle between President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the empowered Shiite rebels who allied with his predecessor, ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The Houthis seized the capital in September, pressing Mr Hadi to form a new government that would give them more say in the country’s political affairs. Since then, wrangling over the make-up of the new government, as well as the Houthis’ military expansion around the capital and other strategic provinces, have driven the country deeper into turmoil.
Mr Saleh and his loyalists, who form the majority in parliament, accuse Mr Hadi of backing UN sanctions against the former president and two top rebels, and had called on the government to explicitly denounce them. They have dismissed Mr Hadi from the party leadership in retaliation.
Last month, the UN Security Council approved a freeze of all assets and a global travel ban on Mr Saleh, the Houthis’ military commander, Abd Al Khaliq Al Huthi, and his second-in-command, Abdullah Yahya Al Hakim.
The Yemeni government, headed by Khaled Bahah, said it would respect the sanctions.
On Tuesday, Amnesty International called on Yemen’s authorities to investigate the killing of a prominent southern activist after his group accused the police of targeting him during a peaceful protest.
Khalid Al Junaidi, 42, was shot dead in his car on Monday while documenting the response to calls for civil disobedience in the southern city of Aden. Protesters are demanding that the south separate from the north.
Police have declined to comment.
*Associated Press and Reuters
Published: December 16, 2014 04:00 AM