Houthis ‘putting pressure’ on UN aid organizations in Yemen

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The Arab coalition fighting in Yemen accused the UN of “biased” reports on air strikes that allegedly killed 26 children in rebel-held parts of the country. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
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The Arab coalition fighting in Yemen accused the UN of “biased” reports on air strikes that allegedly killed 26 children in rebel-held parts of the country. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
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The Arab coalition fighting in Yemen accused the UN of “biased” reports on air strikes that allegedly killed 26 children in rebel-held parts of the country. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
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The Arab coalition fighting in Yemen accused the UN of “biased” reports on air strikes that allegedly killed 26 children in rebel-held parts of the country. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
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The Arab coalition fighting in Yemen accused the UN of “biased” reports on air strikes that allegedly killed 26 children in rebel-held parts of the country. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
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The Arab coalition fighting in Yemen accused the UN of “biased” reports on air strikes that allegedly killed 26 children in rebel-held parts of the country. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
Updated 27 August 2018
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Houthis ‘putting pressure’ on UN aid organizations in Yemen

  • Al-Maliki urges UN bodies not to remain silent over Houthi violations
  • Saudi air defenses shoot down another missile fired toward Jazan

JEDDAH: The Arab coalition on Monday accused the Houthi militia of putting “pressures” on UN humanitarian organizations operating in Yemen.
Spokesman Col Turki Al-Maliki called on them not to remain silent on abuses committed by the the Iran-backed militants.
“We call on UN organizations in Yemen to be neutral and not tolerate violations,” he said, at e news conference in Riyadh.
The coalition is fighting in support of forces loyal to the internationally recognized government against the Houthis, which seized the capital Sanaa in 2014.
The UN, which has several of its aid agencies operating in the country, has called peace talks for next month.
But Al-Maliki said the coalition was surprised by some of the statements made by UN officials, who he said have taken wrong stances based on “false allegations.”
He referred to an attack on a fish market and hospital in Hodeidah earlier this month, which the coalition said was carried out by the Houthis. At least 55 civilians were killed and 170 injured.
Al-Maliki also said the UN failed to respond to accusations that the Houthis had seized control of warehouses used by an international aid organization. 
He said Yemen’s humanitarian ports are operating at full capacity and that air, land and sea permits are granted continuously, especially to aid relief vessels.
The Houthis have fired eight ballistic missiles toward Saudi Arabia in recent days, five of which were during the Hajj pilgrimage. 

On Monday, another ballistic missile was launched by the Houthis from Saada province in Yemen toward Jazan, in Saudi Arabia. The Royal Saudi Air Defense managed to intercept the missile and no injuries were reported, Al Maliki said. 

Al-Maliki said the Houthis are using prisons to train militants and schools and hospitals for military purposes.
“We continue to neutralize ballistic missile launchpads belonging to the militias,” Al-Maliki said. 
Last week the coalition destroyed a SAM-6 air defense system operated by the Houthi militias in Sanaa.
He also said the Yemeni national army has made a major advance in the province of Al-Bayda.


Russia says ‘misled’ by Israel in plane downing over Syria

Updated 12 min 14 sec ago
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Russia says ‘misled’ by Israel in plane downing over Syria

MOSCOW: Russia’s military Sunday blamed “misleading” information from the Israeli airforce for the downing of one of its planes in Syria last week, and denounced the “adventurism” of Israeli pilots.
Israel strongly disputed the assertion and vowed it will continue to act against Iranian targets in neighboring Syria.
A Syrian air defense missile downed the Russian Ilyushin Il-20 military plane on September 17, killing all 15 soldiers aboard and threatening to damage relations between Russia and Israel, which three years ago set up a hotline to avoid accidental clashes in Syria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to seek to move past the incident in spite of strong statements from the Russian military.
On Sunday, military spokesman Igor Konashenkov presented the results of an investigation.
Moscow has accused Israel’s fighter pilots of using the bigger Ilyushin as cover, causing Syria’s Soviet-era S-200 air defense system to interpret the Russian plane as a target.
Israel denied this version of events and its air force commander flew to Moscow following the incident, which Putin called the result of a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances.”
It was the deadliest known case of friendly fire between Syria and key backer Russia since Moscow’s game-changing 2015 military intervention.
Konashenkov said the Russian military received a call from Israeli command at 1839 GMT on the day of the incident to warn that Israel would be striking “north of Syria,” where the Il-20 surveillance aircraft was monitoring the Idlib de-escalation zone.
Russia ordered its plane back to base. Then, “one minute” after Israel’s call, its F-16 planes struck targets in Latakia in western Syria, he said.
“The misleading (information) by the Israeli officer regarding the location of the strikes made it impossible to guide the Il-20 to a safe location,” said Konashenkov.
As the Il-20 was landing near Latakia, one of the F-16 planes “began maneuvers” at 1859 GMT “getting closer to the Il-20,” which was interpreted as a repeat attack by the Syrian air defense and resulted in it being shot down, he said.
“Monitoring the Il-20, the Israeli fighters used it as cover from the anti-aircraft missiles” and continued to patrol the area long after the Russian plane was shot down, he said.
The Israeli pilots’ actions “either speak of their unprofessionalism or criminal negligence at the very least,” Konashenkov said, reiterating the Israeli airforce was fully responsible for the downing of the plane.
The “adventurism” of the Israeli military could have endangered civilian planes which use the same airspace to land at the nearby Hmeimim aerodrome, the officer said.
“This is a very ungrateful response to everything Russia has done for Israel.”
Israel’s military said in a statement its jets “did not hide behind any aircraft and that the Israeli aircraft were in Israeli airspace at the time of the downing of the Russian plane.”
It again offered condolences to Russia.
Israel says it was targeting a Syrian military facility where weapons manufacturing systems were “about to be transferred on behalf of Iran” to Lebanese group Hezbollah.
It has pledged to stop Iran, its main enemy, from entrenching itself militarily in the neighboring country and has carried out dozens of attacks on Iranian targets there.
Iranian-backed Hezbollah is also an enemy of Israel, which has carried out strikes in Syria to stop what it says are advanced arms deliveries to the group.