Yemen family sues US over death of ‘innocent’ kin in drone attack

News4u-News Desk- The family members of an anti-Al Qaeda cleric and a police officer killed in an American drone strike in Yemen in 2012 have reportedly sued the United States, seeking a formal apology and an acknowledgement that innocent civilians were mistakenly killed.

The lawsuit was filed by Faisal Ali Jaber, an engineer, who lost his brother-in-law, Salem Ahmed bin Ali Jaber, and his nephew, Waleed, in a drone strike. He claimed that three men had come to their village looking for Salem, who was a cleric, several times and he had finally agreed to meet them on August 29, 2012. He had taken Waleed along for protection and as the meeting was underway, four Hellfire missiles blew them apart, Faisal added.

He also said that the family had been repeatedly asking the U.S. government to admit their mistake and apologise but their pleas had been ignored. The victims’ family was only paid a total of USD 155,000 in compensation in cash by Yemeni authorities in 2014.

International human rights group Reprieve is providing assistance to Faisal in the legal tussle.

The plaintiffs said that the case was an attempt to break the secrecy surrounding drone strikes and urged the court to impose some public accountability for the programme.

Leaked intelligence, reported by The Intercept, had earlier claimed that shortly after conducting the air strike, the U.S. official knew that civilians had been killed.

The lawsuit came just months after U.S. President Barack Obama apologised for another drone attack that killed an American and an Italian citizen held in Pakistan and announced an independent enquiry into the killings. (ANI)

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Arab air strikes hit military bases in Yemen

News4u-News Desk- Saudi-led air strikes hit three military bases in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Saturday and the Yemeni government in exile expressed reservations about United Nations-led talks aimed at ending the eight-week war.

Residents said the air raids hit a munitions store in one of the bases, setting off a large explosion which sent rockets flying into the air and crashing down on civilian areas.

There was no immediate word on casualties.

An Arab alliance has been bombing Yemen’s dominant group, the Iran-allied Houthi militia, and have backed Yemeni fighters opposing the group in battlefields throughout Yemen’s south.

Yemen’s exiled government in Saudi Arabia headed by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi expressed reluctance to attend U.N.-sponsored peace talks set for May 28 in Geneva.

A spokesman said on Saturday the Houthis and their powerful ally, ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, should first commit to a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding they withdraw from Yemen’s main cities.

“The discussion to hold the Geneva conference perhaps needs more time and arrangements. The other side, the Houthi militias and Saleh, have not recognized President Hadi’s legitimacy … until now they have given no explicit, clear reaction to resolution 2216,” Rajeh Badi told Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV.

A delegation of Houthi officials has arrived in neighbouring Oman to discuss the conflict with the government, which has previously relayed messages between the Shi’ite Muslim group and Saudi Arabia.

“I hope there is consensus to stop the aggression on Yemen, especially ahead of the Geneva conference, and then a serious Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue which allows Yemenis to build their state and gain security and stability,” Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam told Arab TV station Al Mayadeen.

The group has demanded a ceasefire before they attend the peace talks and have dismissed demands to withdraw from Yemeni cities and the capital, which they seized in September. Reuters

Arab air strikes hit military bases in Yemen

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Russia-called UN urgent meeting on Yemen ends without action

News4u-News Desk- An emergency meeting on Yemen by the UN Security Council ended Friday with the 15 members unable to agree on an immediate statement on the growing crisis.

The ambassador from Russia, which called the meeting, wondered why his colleagues talk about the need to help but can’t take action.

Vitaly Churkin called the closed-door meeting a day after the UN chief warned that basic services in Yemen are “on the brink of collapse.”

Diplomats said Russia wanted to address the extraordinary humanitarian and security situation in the Arab world’s poorest country as a Saudi-led Sunni coalition continues airstrikes against a Shiite rebel group that is supported by Iran.

Churkin said other members of the 15-member council didn’t back his proposed statement, which he read out to reporters afterward. It called for an immediate ceasefire, or at least humanitarian pauses.

The statement echoed a call a day earlier by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Churkin said he told council members he would be willing to drop the call for an immediate ceasefire.

He said some council members insisted they had to consult with their capitals for further guidance.

Churkin’s proposed statement also called for a quick return to UN-led peace talks on Yemen including all the parties involved and at a venue all can agree on.

It also expressed support for the UN’s new special envoy for Yemen who would guide the talks.

“If you can’t agree to a motherhood and apple pie statement, what can you agree on? I don’t understand,” Churkin said.

Other diplomats said there was strong agreement on Yemen’s desperate humanitarian situation and the need for political talks, and that discussions on a council statement continue.

Churkin also said of the United States, “Clearly, they need to feel their responsibility since they are supporting the bombing of the coalition, the responsibility of the humanitarian consequences,” he said.

The US did not immediately comment after the meeting.

Ban’s office Thursday said more than 1,200 people have been killed in the conflict, which has turned into a kind of proxy war between Yemen’s powerful neighbor Saudi Arabia and Iran, a Russian ally. Many of those dead have been civilians.

Ban’s statement also warned that already challenged humanitarian operations in Yemen will end within days unless fuel imports return, noting that the violence has “severely blocked” shipments of basic supplies such as food and medial items.


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US, UK evacuating their nationals from Yemen amid Qaeda threat

News4u-News Desk- The US on Tuesday evacuated nearly 90 Americans from Yemen, while the UK has withdrawn all diplomatic staff in the country amid a worldwide terror alert linked to electronic intercepts from Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, ordering a major attack since 9/11.
The State Department said it had pulled all non-essential personnel from Yemen, and the Pentagon said the US Air Force had flown staffers out.

Two US military planes carrying as many as 90 Americans from Yemen were en route to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, CNN reported.

“In response to a request from the US State Department, early this morning the US Air Force transported personnel out of Sana’a, Yemen, as part of a reduction in emergency personnel,” Pentagon press secretary George Little said.

“The US Department of Defence continues to have personnel on the ground in Yemen to support the US State Department and monitor the security situation,” Little said.

Meanwhile, the British government said it flew the embassy staff in Sanaa back to London overnight.

“Due to increased security concerns, all staff in our Yemen embassy have been temporarily withdrawn, and the embassy will remain closed until staff are able to return,” the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) had already announced the closure of its embassy in Sanaa until the end of the festival of Eid amid the global terror alert.

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