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As Yemen starves, international aid agencies play politics with food

One woman and four children are among seven family members killed by a Coalition airstrike on a home in Yemen’s Khadir district in the southwestern province of Taiz. Five other civilians were reportedly injured in the attack, regarding which the Coalition has thus far not commented. Two of the airstrikes targeted the family home of Abdulqawi al-Kindi, a businessman who worked extensively to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the Khadir region. Al-Kindi, his wife and sons were all killed in the attack that completely destroyed their three-story family home.

He [al-Kindi] helped many poor and displaced families here,” an eyewitness to the attack told MintPress, as tears flowed from his face while local rescuers attempted to retrieve bodies from the rubble. “Al-Kindi did not belong to any party or group — he was just a businessman.” 

The attack has angered local residents who still remember Saudi Coalition bombings in recent years that have targeted a school bus, mourning halls, markets, hospitals and the neighborhood of Rugass among other civilian targets. Residents of Taiz have called for retaliatory attacks against the Coalition. A high-ranking official told MintPress that the attack in Taiz is yet another flagrant violation of international law and human values and would be met with a strong response and retaliation.

For their part, the Houthis denounced the Taiz attack and noted that the bodies of innocent Yemeni women and children do not lead international parties to stop lucrative arms sales to aggressor regimes, referring to U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Mohammed Abdul-Salam, the spokesman of the Houthis, said in the wake of the attack that “killing, injuring citizens, and targeting civilian houses is considered a continuation of the aggressive bloody [tactics].

[...]

The attack in Taiz was not the first to target prominent Yemeni businessmen and came after the World Food Program suspended food aid to areas of northern Yemen. The UN agency said the move came after it was unable to reach an agreement with Yemen’s National Authority for the Management and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Recovery (NAMCHA) over the implementation of a biometric system to support aid delivery.

Last week, the World Food Program (WFP) announced it had partially suspended operations in northern Yemen, where 14 million people have been pushed to the brink of starvation, accusing Houthi forces of diverting the aid, a charge the Houthis adamantly deny.

[...]

NAMCHA has accused the WFP program of corruption and said the aid group is exploiting aid for political purposes. The agency has raised concerns that a biometric system that uses iris scanning, fingerprints and facial recognition could easily be exploited by the Saudi-led Coalition.  

[...]

The Houthis claim that there is a precedent in which the Coalition used the WFP as cover to occupy some areas. The Coalition reportedly seized the strategic Red Sea Port of Mukha, situated 346 kilometers south of Sana’a, in December 2017, claiming the move was necessary to protect WFP shipping containers filled with humanitarian aid in the port city.

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