Iran ‘arming Houthis to attack Saudi Arabia, UAE’

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki gives press briefing in Riyadh on Sunday, Nov 5, 2017. (SPA)
Updated 06 November 2017
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Iran ‘arming Houthis to attack Saudi Arabia, UAE’

RIYADH: Iran is supplying Houthi militia with arms to attack Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Col. Turki Al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, said on Sunday.

Al-Maliki also said the coalition would pay a financial reward for information about 40 Houthis wanted for terrorist crimes.

Coalition forces have enough evidence to prove the full complicity of the Tehran regime in the Yemen conflict, Al-Maliki said.

At a presentation in Riyadh, he displayed missiles, weapons and military equipment supplied by Iran and seized by coalition forces. He said ballistic missiles used by the Houthis were not from the Yemeni Army arsenal, and came from Iran.

Iran also supplied the Houthis with drones, he said. Dismantled missiles and other arms were smuggled through Al-Hodeidah port in Yemen and assembled inside the country. The Houthis also threatened maritime navigation by using booby-trapped boats, he said.

Al-Maliki said the coalition had stepped up operations after Saturday night’s ballistic missile attack on Riyadh, but would not confirm air strikes on military targets in the capital, Sanaa, and elsewhere in Yemen after they attack.

Saudi defense forces intercepted and shot down the Houthi missile over King Khaled International Airport. Some debris landed in an uninhabited area but there were no casualties and the airport continued operating as normal.

Al-Maliki said the Houthis had launched the missile indiscriminately to target civilians in populated areas, which was a provocative act. Coalition forces would do whatever was possible to deter the threat from militants in Yemen, he said.

The Houthis have launched 78 missiles at Saudi Arabia, including one in July aimed at Makkah, since the coalition began fighting to restore the legitimate government in Yemen in March 2015.

The Houthis were the first outlawed terrorist group to have ballistic capabilities, which was a challenge to deal with, Al-Maliki said. “Terrorists and militant groups cannot possess such powers, especially ballistic and surface-to-surface missiles.”

In addition, he said, the Houthis had planted about 50,000 land mines along the Saudi border, which were found and neutralized by coalition experts.

He also called on the international community, especially the UN, to assess violations of UN Security Council Resolution 2216. The resolution, approved in April 2015, calls for an end to violence and demands that the Houthis withdraw from all areas seized during the conflict, relinquish arms seized from military and security institutions, and cease all actions falling exclusively within the authority of the legitimate government of Yemen.
 
The 40 wanted terrorists from Yemen
 


World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

A Saudi woman and her friends celebrate her first time driving on a main street of Alkhobar city in eastern Saudi Arabia on her way to Bahrain on June 24, 2018. (AFP / HUSSAIN RADWAN)
Updated 23 min 4 sec ago
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World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

  • As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips
  • The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet 

JEDDAH: The world awoke on Sunday to images and video footage many thought they would never see — newly empowered Saudi women taking the wheel and driving their cars.

As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-time drivers.

The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet.

“I hope doing so on the day when women can drive on the roads in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shows what you can do if you have the passion and the spirit to dream,” she said.

In a tribute to Saudi female drivers, the Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji released a special video of a song she performed live in Riyadh at a concert last December “Today women in Saudi Arabia can legally drive their cars,” she said. “Congratulations on this achievement, this one’s for you!”

Back home in Saudi Arabia, the atmosphere was euphoric. “It’s a beautiful day,” businesswoman Samah Algosaibi said as she cruised around the city of Alkhobar. 

“Today we are here,” she said from the driver’s seat. “Yesterday we sat there,” she said, pointing to the back.

“I feel proud, I feel dignified and I feel liberated,” said Saudi Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena, one of the first women to drive in the Kingdom.

She told Arab News that the event was changing her life by “facilitating it, making it more comfortable, making it more pleasant, and making it more stress-free.”

Almaeena urged all drivers to follow the traffic and road safety rules. “What’s making me anxious is the misconduct of a lot of the drivers, the male drivers. Unfortunately they’re not as disciplined as they should be. Simple things such as changing lanes and using your signals — this is making me anxious.

“But I’m confident: I’ve driven all around the world when I travel, especially when I’m familiar with the area. It’s really mainly how to be a defensive driver because you have to be.”