Almotamar.net, Google - A two-day battle between the imam, who wanted to impose Islamic law and Hamas forces left 27 other people dead. The crackdown could allow Hamas to be seen as a bulwark against militancy by the West.
An imam who wanted to impose Islamic law in the Gaza Strip was killed today in an explosion at one of his hideouts, ending a two-day battle between his armed followers and Hamas government forces that left 27 other people dead.
The security crackdown could allow Hamas, which has tried to court favor with the West, to position itself as a moderate Islamic bulwark against militant forces inspired by Al Qaeda.
But the challenge by the imam, Abdel-Latif Moussa, also pointed to splits among Hamas' followers. Residents of the southern city of Rafah, where the clash occurred, said several former Hamas militants were killed while fighting for the imam's group, the Soldiers of the Companions of God.
Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman Ihab Ghussein said the imam had espoused "perverted ideas and considered all Gazans as unbelievers" and had allegedly orchestrated the bombings of Internet cafes and a wedding party.
The spokesman said Hamas appealed to scholars, clerics and parents to "educate the Palestinian people in correct and moderate Islam."
Moussa provoked the clash Friday by announcing a campaign to impose religious law by force of arms. He made the declaration during a midday sermon in Rafah surrounded by black-clad gunmen who then holed up with him in a mosque and fought off Hamas security forces who besieged the building.
The rebels eventually abandoned the mosque through an underground tunnel and continued the fight from nearby homes. After an overnight lull, a Hamas negotiator approached the imam's hideout in an attempt to talk him into surrendering. An explosion rocked the house, killing the imam, his aide and the negotiator, Ghussein said.
Ghussein said the aide, a Syrian national of Palestinian origin, set off the explosion by detonating a suicide belt. There was no confirmation of the account by the imam's surviving supporters.
The United Nations Secretary-General underlined that the only option for resolving the crisis in Yemen is negotiation.
Mr. Ban Ki-moon "is aware of reports that other States, in particular members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, are also supporting these [Military] operations," said a statement released from the office of the UN chief's spokesperson.
Mr. Ban called for ensuring the protection of civilians and emphasized that "negotiations remain the only option for ultimately resolving the crisis."
A clarification message from the Pakistani embassy in Sana’a denies the rumors of Pakistan involvement on the air strikes against Yemen.
The source was surprised of including the name of Pakistan to the list of countries who participated in last night air strikes on Sana’a and other Yemeni cities.
Ambassador to Yemen Dr. Irfan Shami said, Several international media reports are erroneously reporting that Pakistani aircraft were involved in the air strikes launched by the GCC coalition against Yemen in the early morning of Thursday, 26 March 2015.
The Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad Madani called on all Yemeni parties to act wisely and put the interests of Yemen above all political, tribal and sectarian accounts.
In a statement aired by Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Madani described the developments that are currently taking place in Yemen as "serious".
Madani urged all parties to avoid the military option and to response to the international and regional efforts that call for a comprehensive national dialogue to find a peaceful way out of the deepening crisis in Yemen
Yemen stands on the brink of civil war amid deepening political tensions and an uptick in sectarian violence, United Nations Special Adviser Jamal Benomar warned [Yesterday] as he explained that only through dialogue could the country achieve a peaceful political transition.
Briefing the Security Council via video conference in a rare Sunday session, Mr. Benomar told the UN body that Yemen was on a “rapid downward spiral” as the conflict took on “worrying sectarian tones and deepening north-south divisions.”
“Emotions are running extremely high and, unless solutions can be found, the country will fall into further violent confrontations,” Mr. Benomar declared. “Events in Yemen are leading the country away from political settlement and to the edge of civil war.”
The situation in Yemen has been rapidly deteriorating since the country formed a new Government in November 2014 aimed at ending a period of political turbulence and bringing about a full transition towards democracy. Nonetheless, the country has continued to be plagued by violence and mass political demonstrations despite UN efforts to bring about a peaceful political resolution
Yemen's unity and stability are under huge threats, which casts serious consequences for the Arab region and the international peace and security, Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Monday.
"Yemen is facing multiple challenges, which makes it imperative to help Yemen and drag it away from the edge of the abyss ", Shoukry said in his speech during the Arab League Council meeting at the ministerial level held in Cairo.
He reiterated Egypt's support for the institutions of the state in Yemen to carry out their national responsibilities in maintaining the unity of Yemeni territory.
The United Nations announced on Sunday the launch of the humanitarian response plan for Yemen for 2015 with an amount of US $747.5 million to deliver humanitarian aid to 8.2 million people.
Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Johannes Van Der Klaauw said that the latest developments in Yemen confirm the importance of continuing humanitarian aid and expanding its domain to reach millions of vulnerable Yemeni people.
"Despite the political unrest in Yemen, the humanitarian community will continue to work in Yemen at its full capacity and within strong partnerships with local communities and local partners," Klaauw added.
He said that the humanitarian agencies are adhered to continue to deliver emergency humanitarian assistance and to provide protection services for people within the vulnerable groups.
He called on all donors and concerned parties to support such efforts and provide humanitarian response plan for Yemen during the current year.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) renewed on Wednesday its call for all political parties in Yemen to implement the Council's relevant resolutions, especially the resolution 2201.
The council urged Yemeni political parties to reach a political agreement based on the Gulf initiative and the Peace and National Partnership Agreement (PNPA), confirming its respect to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yemen.
Chaired by Francois Delattre, the ambassador and Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations in New York, the UNSC confirmed its support for the efforts made by the UN Special adviser on Yemen Jamal Benomar.
In closed consultations which lasted for more than two hours, Delattre said, "We have heard Benomar's briefing over the latest developments in Yemen, reviewing our concerns the lack of political solutions as well as growing of terrorist threats due to the ongoing security vacuum."