In brief: Hamas rulers threaten further violent attacks against Israel
JERUSALEM – Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers threatened to escalate fighting with Israel on Saturday after airstrikes killed several gunmen in the coastal territory, and Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel wounded one person and damaged an elementary school in the country’s south.
The two sides periodically clash, but this flare-up was the most serious in months. It started with an attack by a little known al-Qaida-inspired Palestinian militant group but has extended to drag in Hamas.
Gaza militants fired over 30 rockets and mortar shells on Saturday alone, bringing the week’s rocket tally to more than 150, according to the Israeli military.
Yemen army takes al-Qaida stronghold back from militants
SANAA, Yemen – Yemen’s army recaptured a new al-Qaida stronghold in the south on Saturday, officials said, the latest success in a two-month government offensive aimed at uprooting the militant group from large swaths of lands captured during last year’s political turmoil.
Three days of shelling of al-Qaida positions and warnings to local tribal leaders of further escalation drove the militants out of the town of Azzan, said Ali al-Ahmadi, governor of the province of Shabwa. He said the militants fled into the mountains and to camps in the deserts of two nearby provinces, taking captured armored vehicles with them. He had no word on casualties.
Sudan orders forces to confront anti-government protests
CAIRO – Sudan’s top police chief ordered his forces Saturday to quell “firmly and immediately” anti-government demonstrations that have entered their seventh day, while opposition groups reported a security crackdown on their leading members.
Gen. Hashem Othman al-Hussein told his aides to confront the “riots … and the groups behind them,” the official SUNA news agency reported. It was a rare acknowledgement by the state media of demonstrations that have been concentrated in Khartoum but have also spread to a provincial capital.
Protesters are rejecting a government austerity plan that slashed subsidies and doubled the price of fuel and food. But they also appear to be inspired by Arab uprisings in neighboring Egypt and Libya and are demanding the ouster of longtime Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.