SANAA/ADEN, Yemen (Reuters) – Warplanes from Saudi Arabia and Arab allies struck Shi’ite Muslim rebels fighting to oust Yemen’s president on Thursday, a gamble by the world’s top oil exporter to check Iranian influence in its backyard without direct military backing from Washington.
Riyadh’s rival Iran denounced the assault on the Houthi militia group, which it backs, and made clear the kingdom’s deployment of a Sunni coalition against Shi’ite enemies would complicate efforts to end a conflict likely to inflame the sectarian animosities fuelling wars around the Middle East.
But a senior Iranian official ruled out military intervention.
Warplanes bombed the main airport and the nearby al Dulaimi military air base of the Houthi-held capital Sanaa, residents said, in an apparent attempt to weaken the Houthis’ air power and ability to fire missiles.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Coalition and Iraqi planes struck a sprawling complex of palaces in the city of Tikrit on Thursday where Islamic State militants have been holding out for more than three weeks.
U.S.-led coalition planes launched their first air strikes against Islamic State targets in Saddam Hussein’s home city on Wednesday, coming off the sidelines to aid Iraqi forces fighting alongside Iran-backed Shi’ite militia on the ground.
The decision to provide air support for the Tikrit campaign draws the United States into a messy battle that puts the coalition, however reluctantly, on the same side of a fight as Iranian-backed militia.
“The Iraqi air force with the coalition air force have conducted air strikes targeting the presidential palaces that are the headquarters of IS leaders and groups,” Defense Ministry spokesman Brigadier Tahseen Ibrahim Sadiq said at an air base in Baghdad.
Tunisia: 23 arrested in connection with deadly museum attack
Tunisian Police and security in front of the Bardo Museum in Tunis, Tuesday, March 24, 2015. The curator of the Tunisian museum targeted by a terrorist attack announced Tuesday that the reopening has been postponed, for logistical and security reasons. The National Bardo Museum in Tunis was scheduled to reopen Tuesday for the first time since gunmen opened fire on tourists March 18, killing 21 people. (AP Photo/Hassene Didri)
TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia police have arrested 23 people so far from the group behind the attack on the museum that killed 21, but Moroccan and Algerian suspects are still at large, said the country’s top security official Thursday.
Interior Minister Najem Gharsalli told journalists that the arrests included a woman and the group was connected to the al-Qaida-linked Oqba Ibn Nafaa brigade.
The March 18 attack at the national museum in which 20 tourists were killed was claimed by al-Qaida rival, the Islamic State group, but members of the Oqba Ibn Nafaa brigade, which has been fighting Tunisian security forces for the past few years, have claimed allegiance to both extremist groups.
Exclusive: Chemical arms body to investigate allegations of Syrian chlorine gas attack
By Anthony Deutsch
THE HAGUE (Reuters) – The global chemical weapons watchdog will investigate allegations of chlorine gas attacks in Syrian villages that killed six and wounded dozens this month, a source told Reuters on Thursday.
The source at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a fact-finding mission will examine reports of several barrel bombs in the northwestern Idlib region.
“It will be investigated,” said the source, referring to the deadliest attack in the village of Sarmin, where a barrel bomb hit a home, reportedly killing two children, their parents and wounding 90 residents.