Houthis violate truce with impunity

A man walks on the rubble of a house destroyed during the Houthi attack on the first day of a 48-hour cease-fire in the southwestern Yemeni city of Taiz. (Reuters)
Updated 20 November 2016
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Houthis violate truce with impunity

RIYADH: A 48-hour cease-fire announced by the Saudi-led Arab coalition on Saturday was violated many times by the Iranian-backed Houthi militias.

Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Asiri, spokesman for the Arab coalition forces, told Arab News that the Houthis had violated the truce inside Yemen as well as along the border with Saudi Arabia.

“Yes, they violated the truce by firing inside Yemen and on the border with Saudi Arabia,” he said via WhatsApp.
On whether the cease-fire would continue in view of Houthi intransigence, Al-Asiri said: “The cease-fire will continue, but the coalition reserves the right to respond to Houthi violations.”

Al-Asiri’s comments were confirmed by Sanaa Resistance spokesperson Abdullah Al-Shandaqi. The Sanaa Resistance enjoys the backing of the internationally recognized goverment of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The Saudi Press Agency quoted Al-Shandaqi as saying that 15 violations had occurred since the cease-fire was announced.
“The Houthis bombed military sites of the Yemeni Army using heavy weapons in Al-Manarah mountain, Al-Qarn Naham mountain, Al-Jabalian and Malah,” he said.

Al-Shandaqi also confirmed that resistance troops were still committed to the cease-fire in those sites and they reserved the right to respond if the Houthi militias continued to break the truce.

A few hours after the cease-fire took effect at midday (0900 GMT), fighting still raged around Taiz. Clashes were heaviest in the town of Salo, southeast of Taiz, Hadi military sources said, reporting casualties on both sides.

Inside Taiz itself, Houthi rocket fire into a residential district killed three civilians and wounded two, military and medical sources said.

Near the Saudi border further north, two ballistic missiles fired by the Houthis hit the Yemeni coastal area of Midi killing two Hadi soldiers and wounding four, a military commander said.

The 48-hour truce, which came at President Hadi’s request, could be extended if the Houthis hold fire and allow aid into besieged loyalist enclaves, a statement from the legitimate government said.

The coalition insisted that aid must be allowed into those areas in order for the cease-fire to be extended.

The president asked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman for the pause “in response to UN and international efforts to bring peace to Yemen” and allow aid deliveries, the statement added.

“The truce will be renewed if the Houthis adhere to it, include its representatives in the DCC (De-escalation and Coordination Committee) for Dhahran Al-Janoub, and lift the siege on Taiz,” a statement carried on Saudi Press Agency said.

UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed urged all parties “to encourage full respect for the cessation of hostilities and to ensure that it leads to a permanent and lasting end to the conflict.”

UN humanitarian office deputy spokesman Jens Laerke hoped that, if respected, the truce would offer respite to civilians and give humanitarian organizations an “opportunity” to respond to needs for aid nationwide.

Six previous attempts to clinch a cease-fire have foundered, the latest in October.
— With input from agencies


Egyptian tomb reveals its secrets after 4,400 years in ‘find of the decades’

Guests enter a newly discovered tomb, belonging to the high priest ‘Wahtye,’ who served during the 5th dynasty reign of King Neferirkare (2500-2300 BC), at the Saqqara necropolis, 30 km from Cairo, on Saturday. (AFP)
Updated 32 min 58 sec ago
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Egyptian tomb reveals its secrets after 4,400 years in ‘find of the decades’

  • They expect to make more discoveries when they excavate those on Sunday
  • The priest’s tomb “is exceptionally well preserved, colored, with sculpture inside”

CAIRO: Egyptian archaeologists have discovered the tomb of a priest dating back more than 4,400 years in the pyramid complex of Saqqara south of Cairo.

The tomb belongs to Wahtye, a high priest who served during the fifth-dynasty reign of King Neferirkare. It is decorated with scenes showing the royal priest alongside his mother, wife and other members of his family.

It also contains more than a dozen niches and 24 statues of the priest and members of his family.

The priest’s tomb “is exceptionally well preserved, colored, with sculpture inside. It belongs to a high official priest,” Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany said.

The tomb was found in a buried ridge at the ancient necropolis of Saqqara. It was untouched and unlooted, said Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. He described the find as “one of a kind in the last decades.”

Archaeologists removed a last layer of debris from the tomb on Thursday and found five shafts inside, Waziri said. 

They expect to make more discoveries when they excavate those on Sunday.

“I can imagine that all of the objects can be found in this area,” he said, pointing at one of the shafts. “This should lead to a coffin or a sarcophagus of the owner of the tomb.”

The fifth dynasty ruled Egypt from about 2,500 to 2,350 BC, not long after the great pyramid of Giza was built. Saqqara was the necropolis for Memphis, the capital of ancient Egypt for more than two millennia.