First Published: 2013-01-31

 

Yemen army halts assault aimed at freeing Western hostages

 

Ceasefire comes into effect following mediation by tribal chiefs, sources say, adding army is demanding that all foreign Qaeda fighters leave Manaseh.

 

Middle East Online

Stability remains elusive for Yemen

SANAA - Yemeni forces have suspended an offensive aimed at freeing three Western hostages that has cost more than 65 lives to allow for tribal mediators to try to secure their release, local sources said on Thursday.

Eighteen soldiers and 48 Al-Qaeda-linked militants have died in the military operation that began early Monday in the Al-Qaeda stronghold of Manaseh, in Bayda province of central Yemen, according to tribal sources and military officials.

Tribal mediators aim to secure the release of two Finns and an Austrian snatched from central Sanaa in December and who authorities believe are being held in Manaseh, the sources said.

A ceasefire came into effect late on Wednesday following mediation by tribal chiefs, the sources said, adding the army was demanding that all foreign Al-Qaeda fighters leave Manaseh.

Local sources said a number of civilians have also been killed in army shelling of the area but without giving a number.

The army has been hunting two brothers of Tarek al-Dahab -- an Al-Qaeda leader killed in a February 2012 attack. They are suspected of holding the European hostages and have so far refused to surrender despite mediation efforts.

The Austrian man and Finnish man and woman were abducted in Sanaa on December 21 as they prepared to travel to the southern port of Aden via Yemen's second city Taez.

Earlier this month, Yemeni security officials had said the Europeans were being held by Al-Qaeda-linked tribesmen in the eastern Marib province.

Most kidnappings of foreigners are carried out by members of the country's powerful tribes who use them as bargaining chips in disputes with the central government.

Hundreds of people have been abducted in Yemen over the past 15 years. Almost all have been freed unharmed.

Al-Qaeda militants, active in the south and east of Yemen, rarely carry out kidnappings. But a Saudi diplomat, Abdallah al-Khalidi, has remained in the hands of the jihadist network since his abduction in Aden on March 28.

 

France, US clash with Iran over changing nuclear accord

Syria donors fall short of UN target without US aid

Same family names in Lebanon election

Turkey jails opposition daily journalists

Iraq’s ex-football stars from sports to politics

UK ‘seeking information’ over British-Iranian’s arrest

Macron says Trump may pull out of Iran nuclear deal

Turkey opposition journalists demand acquittal in terror trial

UN says Syria blocking humanitarian aid to Douma

OPCW experts visit second site of alleged Douma gas attack

Israeli policeman gets 9 months jail for killing Palestinian

US court rules for Arab Bank in precedent-setting case

Lebanese candidates pay hefty price for media coverage

Madani’s resignation sheds light on Iranian power play

Kuwait expels Filipino ambassador over treatment of workers

Syria aid donations for 2018 fall short of amount hoped

Growing anti-war sentiment in the US Congress could spell trouble for Trump

Liverpool’s Salah wins Israeli defence minister’s plaudits

Body of assassinated Palestinian driven through Malaysian capital

'Gap in perceptions' threatens wider Middle East war

UNESCO picks Morocco for project on prevention of violent extremism

Syrian regime retakes region near Damascus from rebels

Mogherini: Iran deal 'needs to be preserved'

Syria rebels prepare as Assad sets sights on next target

Iran's Rouhani questions 'right' to seek new nuclear deal

Iraq's Shiites split ahead of crucial vote

EU to Russia, Iran: Bring Syria to peace talks

Trump, Macron call for 'new' nuclear deal with Iran

Saudi Arabia claims killing of Yemen rebel leader

Syria's Idlib 'big new challenge' for international community

UNRWA chief says Palestinian aid $200 million short since Trump cuts

Bad memories resurface at Raqa’s mass grave

Turkey newspaper chief slams journalist terror trial

Setback for Yemen rebels after strike takes out leader

Saudi issues Islamic sukuk sale to finance deficit

Yarmuk, an epicentre of Syria's bloody conflict

Egypt’s Eurobond succeeds but risks remain

Egypt former anti-corruption chief gets five years jail

Philippines apologises to Kuwait over 'maid rescues'

Iran urges EU not to pay Trump ‘ransom’ over nuclear deal

UAE to finance project to rebuild Mosul's Grand al-Nuri Mosque

EU, UN begin major conference for Syria aid

New tensions rise between old rivals Turkey and Greece

Rouhani warns Trump against betraying nuclear deal

10 killed in Toronto “deliberate” van attack