Qatar announces first death in Yemen military campaign

Qatar announces first death in Yemen military campaign
After losses Hadi forces made to Houthi rebels this weekend, Qatar announced its first loss in the Yemen campaign, while the US confirmed the death of a kidnapped contractor.
3 min read
11 November, 2015
Qatar's military is taking part in the GCC ground offensive in Yemen [AFP]
Qatar says one of its soldiers fighting with a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen against the Houthi rebels and allies there has been killed - Qatar's first reported death in the conflict.

Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Mohammed al-Attiyah announced the death Wednesday on Twitter, without identifying the soldier or saying how or when he was killed.

The state-run Qatar News Agency didn't immediately report on the death.

Yemen's fighting pits Houthi rebels and allied forces loyal to the internationally recognised government, as well as southern separatists and militants.

More losses

In other news, the State Department says a US contractor who had been detained in Yemen is dead.

John Hamen was detained after arriving in the conflict-ravaged Arab country on a UN aircraft last month.

He was working for a company that manages UN facilities in the capital, Sanaa, which is controlled by Houthis.

State Department spokesman William Cocks said Tuesday that Hamen died, but he provided no cause of death.

Washington is said to be diplomatically supporting Saudi-led force joined the fighting in March, backing the internationally recognised government, and providing intelligence to the GCC air forces.

Its partners have suffered casualties, such as in a September missile attack that killed 52 Emirati troops, 10 soldiers from Saudi Arabia and five from Bahrain.

Yemeni troops loyal to President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi also lost key strategic ground over the weekend to Houthi fighters, just north of Aden province.

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Civilian cost

Meanwhile civilians are coping with the crippling consequences of the civil war and two rare and devastating cyclones, which have hit south Yemen over the past week.

The second, Cyclone Megh, hit Socotra Island earlier this week killing 14 people, while the death toll from the previous storm stood at six.

Air raids from the Saudi-led coalition and shelling from both sides have also killed more than 2,000 civilians in the past six months.

The International Committee of the Red Cross on Monday said hospitals in Yemen have been repeatedly and "deliberately" attacked, and urged warring factions to respect the sanctity of health facilities.

It said in a statement that al-Thawra hospital in third city Taiz was shelled on Sunday, weeks after a hospital run by medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres was hit in the north.

"Al-Thawra hospital, one of the main health care facilities in Taiz which is providing treatment for about 50 injured people every day, was reportedly shelled several times on Sunday," it said.

"The shelling endangered the lives of patients and staff on site," said the ICRC deputy head in Yemen, Kedir Awol Omar.

The Red Cross said there have been "close to a hundred similar" accidents reported since March, when a Saudi-led coalition launched an air war on opponents of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

"Health facilities are deliberately attacked and surgical and medical supplies are also being blocked from reaching hospitals in areas under siege," said Omar.

In October, air strikes hit the Hayadeen hospital run near the rebel-held city of Saada in northern Yemen, with MSF posting pictures on its Twitter account showing a collapsed roof and rubble.

MSF said there were no deaths, but rights group Amnesty International reported at the time that seven staff members were wounded.