Yemeni ministers face questions

Yemen's parliament yesterday urged the government "to enhance the accuracy of its targets and avoid any error" when carrying out operations against "terrorists, insurgents and outlaw elements", the official news agency says.

The defence minister and the deputy prime minister responsible for security have both been summoned by parliament to "present more explanations" later today regarding last week's raids directed against al-Qaeda elements.

One of the raids killed 49 civilians, including 23 children and 17 women, according to a local official quoted by AFP.

A leader from the al-Kazam tribe, also quoted by AFP, said al-Qaeda has chosen to build a training centre "on land where bedouin nomads pitch their tents, and the government forces believe the nomads harbour al-Qaeda forces."

The United States reportedly provided assistance for the raids, though it is unclear whether US forces participated directly. 

In the north of the country, Houthi rebels said Saudi airstrikeskilled 54 people yesterday – mainly women and children – in Razeh (Saada province). The report has not been independently confirmed.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 21 December 2009.