A panel set up by the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen to investigate civilian casualties found a series of deadly air strikes largely justified, citing the presence of armed militiamen at the homes, schools and clinics that were targeted.
The Joint Incidents Assessment Team said on Tuesday (September 12) it had discovered mistakes in only three of 15 incidents it reviewed, and maintained the coalition had acted in accordance with international humanitarian law.
China signalled on Wednesday (September 13) it was willing to back an international inquiry into atrocities in Yemen, as demanded by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, but Saudi Arabia and the United States said they did not support the idea.
Despite his pleas, they have twice supported a Saudi plan to let Yemen investigate by itself.
On Wednesday, the Netherlands and Canada unveiled a draft resolution to establish an international commission of inquiry (COI) to ensure that “perpetrators of violations and abuses, including those that may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, are held accountable”.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on Saturday told dignitaries attending the annual Muslim haj pilgrimage that the kingdom has made progress in eradicating terrorism aimed at attacking its holy sites.
Saudi Arabia, which stakes its reputation on its guardianship of Islam’s holiest sites and organising the haj, has been hit by bombings in recent years and uncovered plots to carry out attacks in Mecca.
“The limbs of terrorism have sought to harm the holy cities, paying no attention to their sanctity,” King Salman told foreign dignitaries at a reception he held in Mecca.
“But the kingdom, by the grace of God and in cooperation with its brothers and friends, has made big successes in eradicating terrorism and has worked decisively and with determination to dry its sources.”
The pilgrimage has frequently been hit by stampedes and fires.
In the most recent incident, hundreds of pilgrims were killed in a crush two years ago.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is set to make emergency aid flights into Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.
The ICRC has been given permission to land planes carrying staff and medical supplies in Yemen, which it said was facing a humanitarian emergency.
Fighting had intensified in the southern port of Aden, as government troops battle the Houthis.
About 500 people had been killed over the past two weeks in Yemen.
However, the ICRC is sending a cargo plane carrying vital medical supplies, and a small passenger plane of aid workers.
Eight Houthi fighters were killed in an air strike before dawn in the suburbs of the northern city of Saadah, home of the Shi’ite Muslim movement which spread from its mountain stronghold to take over the capital Sanaa six months ago.
Local officials said strikes also hit air defense and coastal military units near the Red Sea port of Hodaida, and targets on the outskirts of Aden. They also hit a bridge on the road south to Aden, apparently trying to block the Houthis from sending reinforcements to their fighters in the city.
Meanwhile, the cargo plane is still awaiting approval to send a surgical team by boat to Aden.
The ICRC has, however, called for a 24-hour ceasefire in Aden, while Russia has also urged the UN Security Council to support a “humanitarian pause” in the air strikes.
Pakistan’s parliament is debating whether to join the Saudi-led coalition after a Pakistani aircraft rescued 170 people from Sanaa on Sunday.
How much will you pay to land Mr. Right? For this Saudi woman, the answer is SR5 million (the equivalent of N208 million). Weird? Yes, but we are talking true love here – can we really put a price on that?
The Saudi woman put the attractive advertisement in the local magazine, Roa, calling on all marriage-ready applicants to write in via email or fax. The announcement neither mentioned the woman’s name, age or whereabouts and the millions do come with strings attached.
She will only reveal the conditions in person, however, the ad explains.
“Applicants should provide their contact number so the woman will contact them in case she agrees on the marriage,” the magazine said.
It quoted the woman as saying: “It does not matter whether the new husband is attracted to my money as the most important thing is that he must appreciate marriage life and marital duties…I am even ready to accept a Misyar marriage [a contractual marriage in which the couple may continue to live separately and meet to satisfy marital duties when they please] and pay him SRfive million at once…he will live with me in my villa and must accept all my conditions which I will reveal to him later.”
According to the magazine the woman is divorced, said to have parted ways with her first husband because he was “greedy and wanted only money”.
“I made the wrong choice first time….I want to make the right choice now…my main obsession now is to marry…I am desperate to marry,” the woman said.
Eighty percents of Misyar relationships end in divorce, a report noted. Let’s hope this “desparate to marry” is lucky the second time around.