Yemen ports open for aid, Houthis using ‘advanced weaponry’: Coalition spokesman

Coalition forces spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki, pictured here in a file photo, said several ports in Yemen had reopened for aid shipments. (AN Photo)
Updated 10 January 2018
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Yemen ports open for aid, Houthis using ‘advanced weaponry’: Coalition spokesman

RIYADH: The Houthi militia in Yemen targeted a Saudi jet on Sunday using “advanced weaponry,” coalition forces spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said on Wednesday.
The Iran-backed militias are also using radars and other high-tech equipment to locate ships, Al-Maliki said.
Investigations are underway to establish where the equipment is coming from, he said, adding that the Houthis’ have raised at least $1 billion through collection of taxes.
A Saudi oil tanker was targeted Saturday by Houthi speed boats, the spokesman told a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Both commercial and aid vessels are being targeted by the militias, he said.
A total of 87 ballistic missiles have been targeted at Saudi Arabia by Houthi militias to date, he added.
The Saudi spokesperson elaborated that the last ballistic missile, which was intercepted over Najran in Saudi Arabia on Jan. 5, caused collateral damage, while some Houthi weapons in storage have been targeted by the coalition and destroyed.
Several ports in Yemen had been closed amid accusations that Iran is providing weapons to Houthi militia in the ongoing conflict.
Al-Maliki said however that land, sea and airports have now been reopened for international aid. These include the ports of Hodeidah, Aden, Mukala and Al-Mokha, with at least four aid ships already having been granted access.
Houthi forces are now focusing their attacks on Hodeidah, Al-Maliki said, adding that it was “vital” that the area is retaken to allow further humanitarian aid through the port. The coalition forces are advancing in Hodeidah and Jouf governorate in Yemen, Al-Maliki said.
Al-Maliki spoke of the Houthis' commitment to war and not peace. During the press conference a photo was shown portraying a soldier reading a primitive notebook that had pictures with instructions for the use of missiles. “Evidence proves that Houthis are being supported by foreign experts,” Al-Maliki said.
Al-Maliki pointed out that the Houthis are disguising themselves as normal citizens in order to avoid being targeted and taken in. He made clear that the coalition forces are advanced and monitoring them day and night. To fund their ongoing war in Yemen, Al-Maliki confirmed that “some Yemeni economic ventures and sectors are being forced to pay the Houthis.”
Finding a peaceful political solution is the best way forward, but the Houthis are not committed to this, Al-Maliki added.


King Salman attends camel festival closing ceremony

Updated 1 min 6 sec ago
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King Salman attends camel festival closing ceremony

RIYADH: King Salman on Saturday attended the closing ceremony of the 3rd King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival near the capital Riyadh.
The king was received on his arrival by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar, Riyadh Deputy Gov. Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Abdul Aziz, Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif, Saudi Camel Club Chairman Fahd bin Falah bin Hithlin, and a number of officials.
King Salman welcomed Kuwait’s Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum, Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s representative Sheikh Saad bin Mohammed Al-Saadi, Kyrgyz Premier Mukhammedkalyi Abylgaziev, representative of the King of Bahrain for Charity Works and Youth Affairs Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Mauritania’s Minister of Culture and Handicrafts and government spokesman Mohammed Ould Maham and other guests at the camel festival’s closing ceremony.
The king then handed prizes to winners of the festival. King Salman and the attendees also watched a folk dance performance.
Bin Hithlin said that the king’s patronage of the closing ceremony was the culmination of efforts to organize the festival and consolidate its heritage.
Attendance at the festival was more than double that of the previous year, he said.