Top Houthi ‘minister’ flees Yemen, seeks refuge in Saudi Arabia

Yemeni pro-government forces gather on the eastern outskirts of Hodeidah as they continue to battle for the control of the city from Houthi rebels on November 10, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 11 November 2018
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Top Houthi ‘minister’ flees Yemen, seeks refuge in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The Houthi militia “information minister” has fled Yemen and sought refuge in Saudi Arabia, his counterpart in the Yemeni government said on Saturday.

Abdul-Salam Ali Gaber is the most senior member of the Houthi regime to defect since war broke out in 2014. He arrived in Saudi Arabia with his family after they fled Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, said Yemen’s Information Minister Moammer Al-Iryani.

Meanwhile, Yemeni government forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition took control of the main hospital in Hodeidah on Saturday as they continued the offensive to recapture the Red Sea port city from the Houthis.

Amnesty International had accused the Houthis of “deliberate militarization” of the hospital after they deployed snipers on its roof.

Fierce battles raged in the city’s east between the Houthis and government forces backed by airstrikes and helicopters. “The battles here are turning into street fighting,” a government official said.

The Saudi-led coalition said on Saturday it no longer required US inflight refueling for its warplanes in Yemen. “The Kingdom and the coalition have increased their capability to independently conduct inflight refueling,” the coalition said.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Washington supported the Saudi decision. “The US will also continue working with the coalition and Yemen to minimize civilian casualties and expand urgent humanitarian efforts throughout the country,” he said.


Former Egyptian president Morsi buried in Cairo: lawyer

Updated 18 June 2019
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Former Egyptian president Morsi buried in Cairo: lawyer

  • Morsi, was suffering from a benign tumor, had continuous medical attention, says state TV
  • The former president died aged 67

CAIRO: Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi was buried on Tuesday in eastern Cairo, one of his lawyers said, a day after he collapsed in court and died.

“He was buried in Medinat Nasr, in eastern Cairo, with his family present. The funeral prayer was said in Tora prison hospital” where he was declared dead on Monday, his lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maksoud said.

Egyptian state television announced that Morsi, 67, who was ousted by the military on July 3, 2013, had been attending a court session at his trial on charges of espionage and links with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

It was reported that he collapsed in the courtroom inside a glass cage he and others had been sharing, before his body was transferred to a local hospital.

Morsi died from a sudden heart attack, state television reported early on Tuesday, citing a medical source. The source said the former president, who was suffering from a benign tumor, had continuous medical attention.

Attorney-General Nabil Sadiq issued a statement saying: “The accused, Mohammed Morsi, in the presence of the other defendants inside the cage, fell unconscious, where he was immediately transferred to the hospital.

“The preliminary medical report stated that by external medical examination they found no pulse, no breathing, and his eyes were unresponsive to light. He died at 4:50 p.m. and no apparent injuries to the body were found.”

Sadiq added he had ordered the transfer of teams from the Supreme State Security Prosecution Office and the Southern Cairo Prosecution Office to conduct an investigation into Morsi’s death, and to examine surveillance footage from the courtroom and collect witness testimonies.

He also ordered that a senior forensic committee headed by the chief medical officer and the director of forensic medicine to prepare a forensic report on the cause of death.

Various outlets say that a state of high alert has been issued by the military and the Ministry of the Interior throughout the country following the news, for fear of riots or activity by the Muslim Brotherhood, in which Morsi was a prominent figure.

Morsi became president in June 2012 after the first democratic elections in the country following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak on Jan. 25, 2011. He was Egypt’s fifth president.

He was born to a family of farmers on Aug. 20, 1951, in the village of Al-Adwa in Sharkia province. He married in 1978 and leaves behind his wife, five children and three grandchildren.

Following his deposition and arrest, Morsi was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on Oct. 22, 2016, over bloody clashes that took place on Dec. 5, 2012 in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and opponents of Morsi rejecting a constitutional declaration issued in November of that year.

Other sentences meant his total incarceration could have been up to 48 years, with the ongoing espionage case potentially carrying a further maximum sentence of 25 years.

In Istanbul on Tuesday, hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters took to the streets, mourning former Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi and some chanting slogans blaming Cairo authorities for his death.

* With AFP