Amnesty International on Thursday accused the Saudi-led Arab coalition battling rebels in Yemen of using banned cluster munitions in raids on residential areas.
The Brazilian-manufactured munitions were fired in a 15 February attack on three residential districts and agricultural land in Saada province of northern Yemen, a stronghold of the Shia Houthi rebels, it said in a statement.
Two people were wounded in the attack, said Amnesty, which has also reported that the coalition used cluster munitions in October 2015 and May of last year.
US Marines have arrived in northern Syria with artillery to support US-backed local forces fighting there, two US officials told CNN.
The US-backed fighters are preparing to move in the coming weeks to assault the city of Raqqa, ISIS’ self-declared capital, according to the officials.
Yemen’s local al Qaeda wing appealed for help on Thursday to fend off an offensive by the armed Houthi movement in central Yemen, and accused the United States of coordinating attacks with the Iran-aligned group, according to an online statement.
Residents say tribesmen in Ansar al-Sharia, the local wing of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and other Islamists known as salafists are the main force holding back the Houthis in Qifa in al-Bayda province, where President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s internationally-recognized government has little control.
Ansar al-Sharia referred in the statement on its Telegram channel to repeated air strikes by the United States in recent days. Washington has acknowledged it has stepped up operations against militants in Yemen in the past couple of weeks.
The Sunni Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has boasted that key U.S. Middle East ally Saudi Arabia is the top provider of terrorists for the jihadist group in Iraq, reports Fox News, citing Iraqi military sources.
Sunni Saudi Arabia shares an estimated 500-mile-long border with war-ravaged Iraq.
Nevertheless, Fox News reports that the Saudi jihadists crossed into Iraq over the border the country shares with both Turkey and Syria.
The news outlet learned from unnamed Iraqi intelligence sources that jihadist from the Saudi kingdom comprise nearly one-third (up to 30 percent) of all ISIS terrorists in Iraq, adding that “Saudis comprise the largest single contingent of ISIS fighters, with Russian Chechens making up the second-largest contingent.”
Speaking to the news outlet on condition of anonymity, a high-ranking Iraqi intelligence officer said, “The Saudi presence in ISIS is very large. What we have left are mainly Iraqis and Saudis.”