Yemeni separatists backed by the United Arab Emirates began withdrawing yesterday from positions they seized from the internationally-recognized government in the southern port city of Aden. The Southern Transitional Council had wrested control of the city from government forces after four days of fighting that killed more than 70 people and exposed a major rift in the Saudi-led coalition, which has been battling Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in northern Yemen since 2015. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates lead the coalition, which is ostensibly fighting the rebels on behalf of the government. But the UAE is the dominate force in the south, where it has an estimated 90,000 allied militiamen, and has long been at odds with the government, which is largely based in Saudi Arabia.
Car bomb kills 3 UN staff outside mall in Libya
A bomb-laden vehicle exploded outside a shopping mall in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi, killing at least three U.N. staff members, a spokesman for the United Nations secretary-general said. The attack came even as the country’s warring sides said they accepted a cease-fire proposed by the U.N. aimed at halting combat in the capital Tripoli during an upcoming Muslim holiday. Health officials said the blast took place outside Arkan Mall in the Hawari neighborhood, where people were gathering for shopping a day before the Eid al-Adha holiday begins. The Benghazi municipal council said the attack targeted a convoy for the U.N. Support Mission in Libya. The site of the attack is close to offices of the mission in Libya. Two of the dead hailed from Libya and Fuji, and the blast wounded nine people, according to health officials.
Groups urge probe of jail conditions of US citizen in Egypt
Two leading rights groups are demanding an independent probe into detention conditions of an Egyptian-American citizen held in Egypt on terrorism charges. Human Rights Watch and The Freedom Initiative said in a joint statement on Friday that Khaled Hassan had attempted to take his own life while in detention. They say conditions under which he’s being held are deplorable. Hassan has been jailed since January 2018 on charges of belonging to the Islamic State group but has not been brought to trial. The rights groups say Hassan had previously alleged he was being tortured and raped while in custody. HRW’s Michael Page, deputy director for Mideast and North Africa, says the “Egyptian authorities have sadly earned their miserable reputation for mistreating prisoners, including denying them safe and sanitary prison conditions.”