Icon of war-torn Yemen dies
Amal Hussain, a seven-year-old girl whose portrait captured the public’s attention, died last week in a refugee camp four miles from a hospital. The New York Times portrait, which showed Amal horribly emaciated and lying silently in a hospital bed, cast a spotlight on the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
“My heart is broken,” her mother, Mariam Ali, said in a phone interview. “Amal was always smiling,” she said, adding, “Now I’m worried for my other children.”
The recent killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has caused Western leaders to reexamine their support for Saudi Arabia in the devastating war in Yemen. United States Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stated a cease-fire in Yemen should be enacted within 30 days.
“We have got to move toward a peace effort here, and we can’t say we are going to do it some time in the future,” Mattis said last Tuesday. Critics say Saudi-led economic warfare and airstrikes meant to weaken Houthi rebels in Northern Yemen have caused massive suffering and poverty for civilians like Amal’s family.
IS targets Christians in Egypt
IS claimed responsibility for an attack last Friday that left at least seven dead and 16 wounded south of Cairo. The gunmen targeted two buses carrying Coptic Christians as they left the Monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor. In a similar attack in the same area in May 2017, gunmen killed at least 28 people as buses traveled toward the Monastery of Saint Samuel.
Trips to desert monasteries are a regular religious practice by Egyptian Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the country’s population. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi vowed to find and prosecute the attackers. Analysts say IS is attempting to widen religious division in Egyptian society in a similar manner to its strategy in Iraq and Syria. In the last two years, Islamist attacks on Christians and Muslims alike have left hundreds dead in Egypt. Militants killed at least 311 people in November 2017 when they targeted a Sufi Islam mosque in Sinai.
Divers find main fuselage in Lion Air crash
Indonesia’s Search and Rescue Agency said last Thursday that divers have found the main fuselage and can now hear signals from the missing black box of Indonesian Lion Air Flight 610. As divers find more material and records, investigators may be able to piece together what caused the brand-new Boeing 737 to crash and kill all 189 passengers onboard.
Investigators say they have not been able to extract any information from the plane’s flight data recorder, which was found last Thursday. The muddy waters and rapid currents of the crash site in the Java Sea have hindered search efforts since the plane crashed on Monday. One diver, Syahrul Anto has died in the search. Anto went missing and was later found unconscious by his diving partner last Friday. Doctors onshore attended to him, but he passed away shortly after. Muhammad Syaugi, head of Indonesia’s Search and Rescue Agency, said Anto was a senior diver “who devoted his life for our country.”