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Red Cross cites intense fighting between government and Al-Qaeda

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Yemen has voiced concerns about the mounting number of civilian casualties during a new offensive by government troops, backed by the U.S., again suspected Al-Qaeda rebels.

Over the past few days an escalation in the fighting has left a dozen civilians dead and scores wounded in the Abyan governorate in southern Yemen. ICRC officials are having difficulty getting to this...

NATO's bombing campaign in Libya left 72 civilians dead last year, a leading human rights group has said, accusing the military alliance of failing to acknowledge the deaths.

In a 76-page report released on Monday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged NATO to provide "prompt and suitable compensation" to families for the civilian deaths, injuries and loss of property.

HRW's field investigation at the sites of eight NATO air strikes found that 20 women and 24 children were among the 72 people killed.

Karzai has argued that night raids by international troops make civilian casualties more likely and that U.S. soldiers are disrespectful in the way they conduct the operations. The U.S. military has said such operations are essential for intelligence gathering and for capturing Taliban and al-Qaida commanders.

"A suicide bomber targeted a group of foreign friends" near a park where a meeting of locals was taking place, provincial governor Abdul Haq Shafaq told the AFP news agency.

Among the dead were three foreign soldiers, four Afghan police, an Afghan interpreter for the US soldiers and six Afghan civilians including two women and two children, local police sources told Al Jazeera.

Another 30 Afghan civilians and four US soldiers were wounded in the attack.

U.S. troops have conducted thousands of night time raids in Afghanistan, but the Afghan government is trying to put an end to the practice, which would severely hamper the military's strategy

Thousands of times last year, long after night fell over Afghanistan, U.S. and Afghan troops stormed houses in hot pursuit of the Taliban and al Qaeda. Of the 2,200 night missions in 2011, 83 percent result in the...

Tragic mistakes all too often accompany combat operations, even when the military objectives are humanitarian. That is what seems to have happened in the Libyan farming village of Majer last August. Amid the confusion of a rebel advance and a retreat by Qaddafi loyalists, successive NATO bomb runs there killed at least 34 Libyan civilians, including women and small children, according to journalists, human rights organizations and United Nations investigators.

UNHCR is concerned at a continuation in mortar attacks in Mogadishu, which claimed three more lives yesterday. Several mortars landed in the Beerta Darawiishta (Darwish) settlement for internally displaced people near the Somali Parliament building in the Waardhiigley district of the Somali capital at around 0215 on Monday morning. It is reported that three internally displaced people, including a father and his three year old child, were killed and eight others - five women and three men - were seriously injured.

LONDON (AlertNet) - Civilians accounted for 71 percent of people killed and injured by explosive weapons in 2011, with most of such casualties taking place in Iraq, according to a report released on Tuesday.

At least 21,499 civilians were reported killed or injured over a 12-month period in 68 countries and territories, according to data gathered from news sources on 2,522 incidents of explosive violence, the report by non-profit group Action on Armed Violence  (AOAV) said.

More than 18,000 of the civilian casualties were reported in populated areas, the report said.

Of all casualties...

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed a U.S.-backed resolution urging Sri Lanka to investigate possible war crimes that may have been committed by both sides of the island nation's 26-year civil war. 

Backed by the United States, the European Union and India, the UN is urging Sri Lankan officials to conduct a thorough probe of alleged acts of extra-judicial executions, illegal detentions, the shelling of civilians, kidnappings and other crimes during the conflict between Tamil Tiger rebels and the majority-Sinhalese government forces, news sources reported.

Residential neighborhoods in the suburbs of Damascus are now the scene of violent clashes between government forces and rebels move closer to the Syria capital. The army has also expanded its military to campaign to the city of Deir al-Zor, where rebel forces were forced to withdraw to avoid heavy civilian casualties. Tanks and artillery are also being used in Hama, where this ancient castle has come under bombardment.

Bashar al-Assad's forces have also returned to the already battered city of Homs, bombarding districts that had previously escaped the worst of the fighting after weeks of heavy fighting. The new targets are areas where many of people escaped to after leaving Baba...