15 dead in fighting near Yemen Red Sea port

A Yemeni soldier mans a machine gun mounted on a military truck near the Red Sea coast city of al-Mokha, Yemen, in this January 23, 2017 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 11 March 2017
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15 dead in fighting near Yemen Red Sea port

ADEN: Seven Yemeni soldiers and eight rebels were killed in heavy fighting over the past 24 hours near the Red Sea coastal town of Al-Mokha, medical and security sources said Saturday.
The historic port was captured by government forces on Feb. 10 as part of a major offensive launched in January to try to recapture Yemen’s 450 km Red Sea coastline, which had previously been almost entirely in rebel hands.
But there have been repeated clashes over the past month both inland and north of the town as the rebels seek to take it back.
The latest fighting focused on the village of Yakhtul, 14 km north of Al-Mokha, which is currently in government hands.
It came as an airstrike on a rebel-held port further north killed 20 civilians and six rebels.
SABA reported Saturday that eight people were also wounded Friday in the bombing of Khokha market in the western province of Al-Hodeida. It added that jets continued to fly overhead, spreading fear among first responders and preventing them from rushing to rescue survivors.


US accuses Iran of destabilizing Mideast with missile program

Updated 20 March 2019
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US accuses Iran of destabilizing Mideast with missile program

  • Cites Iran’s support to the Houthi movement in Yemen and to Hezbollah in Lebanon
  • Says Iran's ballistic missile test and satellite launches violated UN Security Council resolution

JEDDAH: Iran’s missile program is destabilizing the Middle East, and Tehran risks starting a regional arms race by supplying weapons to armed groups in Lebanon and Yemen, a senior US arms control official said on Tuesday.

“Iran must immediately cease activities related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, and halt the proliferation of missiles and missile technology to terror groups and other non-state actors,” Yleem Poblete, assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance, said in a speech to the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Iran’s missile program is a key contributor to increased tensions and destabilization in the region, increasing the risk of a regional arms race,” she said, denouncing Iran’s support to the Houthi movement in Yemen and to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

She said Iran had provided ballistic missiles to the Houthis that were fired into Saudi Arabia and unmanned aerial systems to Houthi groups that enable strikes against land-based targets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. “We are committed to aggressively countering Iran’s regional proliferation of ballistic missiles and its unlawful arms transfers,” she said.

US President Donald Trump said when he quit the 2015 deal that lifted international sanctions against Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear activities that the agreement failed to rein in Iran’s missile program or curb its regional meddling.

The US has accused Iran of defying a UN Security Council resolution by carrying out a ballistic missile test and two satellite launches since December.

Poblete urged “all responsible countries” to enforce UN Security Council resolutions restricting the transfer of missile-related technologies to Iran. She also accused Iran of “pursuing pharmaceutical-based agents for offensive purposes,” but did not provide details.

Harvard scholar and Iranian affairs expert Dr. Majid Rafizadeh said Iran had the largest ballistic program in the Middle East. “Through its ballistic missile program, the Iranian regime appears determined to escalate tensions in the region and seek every opportunity to project its power in order to reassert its hegemony,” he said. “The international community ought to hold Tehran accountable for its military adventurism and violations of international standards.”