Four dead as Yemen troops clash with Al-Qaeda

Yemeni men and security forces inspect the site of a suicide bombing in the southern port city of Aden, in this November 5, 2017 photo. (AFP)
Updated 11 November 2017
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Four dead as Yemen troops clash with Al-Qaeda

ADEN: Two soldiers and two terrorists were killed in clashes Friday as Emirati-backed Yemeni forces seized an Al-Qaeda foothold in the country’s south, security sources said.
Militants fled to nearby mountains after the clashes in Al-Hawtah district of Shabwa province, said a Yemeni officer.
He said Apache helicopters belonging to the UAE — a key member of a Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen — then strafed the mountains where the terrorists had fled.
“We entered Al-Hawtah after clashes with the terrorists and now we’re stationed in several locations... We are in total control of the area,” the officer said.
The UAE has been playing a key role in the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, launched in 2015 to roll back Houthi militia gains but which has expanded to counter militant advances.
Al-Qaeda has flourished in the chaos of Yemen’s civil war and in August, Emirati-trained Yemeni special forces launched a US-backed operation against the group, also the target of a long-running US drone campaign.
Yemeni forces have brought Shabwa province largely under government control, though Al-Qaeda is known to make tactical retreats to mountain refuges, only to resurface.
Houthi militias still occupy one district of Shabwa as well as the neighboring province of Baida, the capital Sanaa and most of northern Yemen.


Red Sea resorts drive Egypt tourism hopes

Holidaymakers play on Thursday at El-Sokhna beach in Suez, Egypt. (AP)
Updated 20 July 2018
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Red Sea resorts drive Egypt tourism hopes

  • The Red Sea resort of Hurghada has been listed as one of the top 25 destinations in the world
  • Egypt’s annual tourist influx rose to 8.3 million in 2017 from 5.3 million in 2016

CAIRO: Egypt’s tourism industry, struggling since the 2011 uprising plunged the country into violence, is showing signs of recovery.
Thomas Cook, one of the largest tourism companies in Egypt, announced on Sunday that 500,000 tourists will visit the country in 2018.
Egypt’s Thomas Cook agent chairman, Moody Al-Shaer, said that the company had experienced a 50 percent surge in bookings during the first half of 2018, particularly to Red Sea destinations such as Hurghada and Marsa Alam.
“The occupancy rate reached its highest levels since July 2017. We also have a slight increase in prices since last year due to the high demand for Hurghada,” Azza Hussien, marketing manager of the Hilton Hurghada resort, told Arab News.
“One of the main drivers to Hurghada is the competitive pricing and value for money, and this is one of the major reasons leading to a rise in demand among tourists,” Hussien said.
Reports from airlines indicated a rise in British tourism to Egypt. International travel agencies have also forecast a surge in tourists from the UK, with bookings and flights set for a significant increase during 2018.
“With more than 40 UK flights a week, Egypt is again a dream destination for hundreds of thousands of British tourists,” John Casson, the UK ambassador to Egypt, said.
The envoy said at the end of 2017 that Thomas Cook planned to resume flights to the Egyptian city of Marsa Alam to accommodate “growing British demand” for Egyptian holidays.
The tour company suspended flights to the city 10 years ago.
Two flights from Birmingham airport and London Gatwick airport each week will support Thomas Cook’s plans.
The Red Sea resort of Hurghada has been listed as one of the top 25 destinations in the world, according to TripAdvisor.
“The stunning coral reefs and turquoise waters are perfect for windsurfing. Within easy reach of the Giftun Islands and the eastern Arabian Desert,” TripAdvisor wrote on its official website.
“It’s a relatively easy beach escape for Europeans, and some of the world’s best diving and snorkeling sites are just offshore,” it added.
“We come here every year, we love the place. Everyone smiles at you, we really feel at home here,” said Nancy Markaus, a Serbian tourist in Hurghada.
“We love Egypt and we love how friendly people are to us,” said Marten Lutz, a German tourist.
Egypt’s annual tourist influx rose to 8.3 million in 2017 from 5.3 million in 2016. Yet results are still well off the 12 million figure for 2010.