Houthis threatening strategic strait, warns US general

Google map showing the location of Bab al Mandab Strait.
Updated 31 March 2017
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Houthis threatening strategic strait, warns US general

WASHINGTON: Houthi rebels in Yemen are threatening free movement into and out of the Red Sea with missiles, mines and other sophisticated defenses on a key strait, a top US general has said.
The Bab Al-Mandab Strait connects the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean, a strategic passage for world trade.
Acting “with the support of Iran,” the rebels have deployed “coastal defense missiles, radar systems, mines and explosives boats that have been migrated from the Strait of Hormuz,” US Central Command chief Gen. Joe Votel told the House Armed Services Committee.
The installations threaten “commerce and ships and our security operations in the area,” he said. “I am extraordinarily concerned about another contested maritime chokepoint in the region,” Votel said.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is reported to support increasing military support for the Saudi-led coalition.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has also recommended aiding forces from the UAE driving Houthi rebels from the key port of Al-Hodeida on the Red Sea, The Washington Post reported.
He suggested increasing air-to-air refueling and intelligence support the US military already provides the Arab coalition.
Meanwhile, the UN special envoy for Yemen said military operations are escalating and the humanitarian and economic situations are rapidly deteriorating in Yemen, which is on the brink of famine.
Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed urged the UN Security Council to pressure Yemen’s government and the Houthis “to engage constructively” on political and security measures that he presented to them aimed at ending the war and creating a transitional government.
Ahmed told the council: “It is my firm belief that further military escalation and humanitarian suffering will not bring the parties closer together.”


Saudi Arabia to distribute 8 million copies of the Holy Qur’an to Hajj pilgrims

Updated 18 July 2019
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Saudi Arabia to distribute 8 million copies of the Holy Qur’an to Hajj pilgrims

RIYADH: The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance has started preparations for its Hajj season book distribution program. The ministry will provide pilgrims with books concerning the rituals upon entry to the Kingdom, as well as the Holy Qur’an and translations of its meanings. Finally, pilgrims will be offered guidance books upon their departure.

The program aims to spread legitimate awareness among pilgrims and promote adherence to the correct methods of belief, worship and behavior. 

The undersecretary of the Department of Publications Affairs and Scholarly Research, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Mohammed Al-Hamdan, said that it has approved 52 books in more than 30 languages for this year’s Hajj season. He added that more than 8 million copies of the Holy Qur’an, ritual books and manuals will be distributed.

Al-Hamdan said that the Islamic electronic library had issued a platform containing all of the ministry’s written and audio versions of the books of Hajj and Umrah to every international airport in the Kingdom, several exit-port centers and some mosques and important sites. The platform is available to all at www.islamic-ebook.com. SPA Riyadh