Saudi-led coalition: Houthis a constant threat to Yemeni people

Col. Turki Al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition talks at a press conference in Riyadh. (AN photo/Noor Nugali)
Updated 04 January 2018
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Saudi-led coalition: Houthis a constant threat to Yemeni people

RIYADH: Houthi militias are a constant threat to the Yemeni people, and “have been in contact with the Iranian regime since 1994,” Col. Turki Al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, said Wednesday.
At a press conference in Riyadh, he showed through videos that the coalition continues to accurately target the Houthis and their arsenal of weapons, and avoid civilians.
The Houthis are hiding ballistic missiles in deep caves in the Sanaa mountain of Nahdain, and coalition forces are monitoring the area round-the-clock, he added.
The Houthis have fired 86 ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia, and the latest attempt was thwarted, Al-Maliki said.
He described as incorrect a statement by the UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, that the coalition campaign has been a “failure.”
All of Shabwa province is now liberated, and the coalition is fighting to oust the Houthis from the remaining 20 percent of Al-Jouf, Al-Maliki said.
While the Houthis are recruiting child soldiers, the coalition has launched a unit to help these children recuperate and reintegrate into civilian life, he added.
Saudi Arabia has provided the Yemeni people with aid by air, land and sea, and all ports are open and receiving humanitarian aid, he said.
Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh lost his life protesting the Houthi presence, Al-Maliki added.
The coalition is communicating with many officials in Yemen who have expressed their willingness to desert the Houthis and join the legitimate government, he said.


US targets two individuals, three entities in Hezbollah-related sanctions program

Updated 39 min 14 sec ago
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US targets two individuals, three entities in Hezbollah-related sanctions program

  • Targeted for sanctions under US regulations aimed at suspected terrorists or those who support them
  • Comes at a time of growing US concern about role of Hezbollah in Lebanese government

WASHINGTON: The U.S. Treasury, moving to boost pressure on Hezbollah, imposed sanctions on Wednesday against two people and three firms that Washington accuses of being involved in schemes to help the armed Shi'ite group backed by Iran evade American sanctions.

The Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said it was targeting Belgium-based Wael Bazzi because he acted on behalf of his father Mohammad Bazzi, a Hezbollah financier.

OFAC also took action against two Belgian companies and a British-based firm controlled by Bazzi.

In addition, the US Treasury designated Lebanon-based Hassan Tabaja, who it said had acted on behalf of his brother Adham Tabajha, also a Hezbollah financier. The U.S. action freezes their assets and property and prevents U.S. citizens and businesses from dealing with them.

The two men and three businesses were targeted for sanctions under US regulations aimed at suspected terrorists or those who support them, the Treasury said in a statement. Hezbollah is considered a foreign terrorist organization by the United States.

"Treasury is relentlessly pursuing Hezbollah's financial facilitators by dismantling two of Hezbollah's most important financial networks," Treasury Undersecretary Sigal Mandelker said in a statement.

"By targeting Hassan Tabaja and Wael Bazzi and their European-based companies, this administration is continuing to disrupt all avenues of financial support relied upon by Hezbollah," he said.

The US State Department earlier this week offered a reward of up to $10 million for information that could help disrupt Hezbollah's financing.

The move to boost pressure on the group comes at a time of growing US concern about its role in the Lebanese government. Hezbollah's regional clout has expanded as it has sent fighters to Middle East conflicts, including the war in Syria, where it supported President Bashar al-Assad.