Security

Emirati Red Crescent says team targeted by gunmen in Yemen

By AFP

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Yemenis drop off boxes of humanitarian aid provided by the Emirati Red Crescent in the town of Mujailis, south of the city of al-Hodeidah, in this file photo from June 6th, 2018. [Nabil Hasan/AFP]

The Emirati Red Crescent on Wednesday (November 18th) said one of its mobile health clinics in the Yemeni city of Taez had been attacked by gunmen, in an incident it condemned as a "cowardly terrorist act".

It did not mention any casualties in the assault in Taez, which is under government control but surrounded by forces of the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah).

The UAE is a member of the Arab coalition, led by its ally Saudi Arabia, which intervened in the conflict five years ago to support Yemen's internationally recognised government after the Houthis staged a coup in Sanaa.

"The Emirates Red Crescent condemns and deeply regrets the cowardly terrorist act that targeted its medical staff working in mobile clinics," the organisation said in a statement.

The "shooting attack" on its medical staff "represents a major violation of international norms, treaties and covenants", it said.

The UAE foreign ministry did not accuse any group of the attack, but criticised the breaching of conventions that provide special protection for aid and rescue workers.

"The ministry stressed that such hostile acts impede relief operations and hinder humanitarian access in Yemen, which may aggravate the plight of the people and worsen their conditions," the state news agency WAM said.

Yemen's long war has plunged the country -- the poorest on the Arabian peninsula -- into what the UN describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

As a result of the war, nearly 80% of the population is dependent on some form of humanitarian aid, with the situation deteriorating sharply this year amid the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis which has seen donor funding dry up.

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