24 Houthi insurgents killed in Yemen Red Sea port clashes

Yemen government troops advance toward the Red Sea coast city of Mokha, Yemen, in this January 23, 2017 photo. (REUTERS/Fawaz Salman)
Updated 08 February 2017
0

24 Houthi insurgents killed in Yemen Red Sea port clashes

ADEN, Yemen: Thirty-two combatants were killed Wednesday in the battle for a key coastal town in western Yemen between government forces and Shiite Houthi insurgents, officials said.
The deaths occurred as forces loyal to President Abedrabbo Masnour Hadi advanced into neighborhoods of Mokha and Houthis retreated to northern and western parts of the town, military sources said.
Loyalists backed by the firepower of a Saudi-led Arab coalition entered the strategic port town in late January as part of their efforts to drive the rebels away from the Red Sea coast.
The clashes on Wednesday left dead 24 Houthi insurgents, including 12 whose bodies were taken a hospital in Mokha, medical officials said.
The other 12 were rebels whose remains were found by advancing troops and later buried in Mokha, a loyalist military official said.
Eight soldiers were killed, military and medical officials said.
Mokha was Yemen’s main port serving as its export hub for coffee until it was overtaken by Aden and Hodeida in the 19th century.
Forces supporting Hadi, backed by the coalition, began a major offensive on January 7 to recapture the coastline overlooking the strategic Bab Al-Mandab Strait.
More than 400 combatants have been killed since government forces launched their drive up the Red Sea coastline.


HRW slams Morocco over journalist’s 3-year jail term

Updated 12 min 32 sec ago
0

HRW slams Morocco over journalist’s 3-year jail term

  • Hamid el Mahdaoui was sentenced in June for "not denouncing" attempts to harm state security
  • Well known for criticising the Moroccan government on social media, Mahdaoui is already serving a one-year sentence

TUNIS: Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticised a Morocco court on Wednesday for sentencing a prominent journalist to three years in prison on a "dubious charge" relating to a northern protest movement.
Hamid el Mahdaoui was sentenced in June for "not denouncing" attempts to harm state security after he received a call from a man who said he planned to create armed strife in Morocco.
The court had rejected Mahdaoui's defence that as a journalist he often receives calls from strangers and that he felt the man's claims were "idle chatter", HRW said.
Well known for criticising the Moroccan government on social media, Mahdaoui is already serving a one-year sentence for inciting protests.
He received the call during the thousands-strong Al-Hirak al-Shaabi (Popular Movement) demonstrations that rocked the Rif region in 2016 and 2017.
HRW's Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson said the charges against him "reek of an arbitrary use of the law on an outspoken journalist by authorities who have been radically reducing the space for critical reporting and commentary."