Deadly fighting erupts again in Yemen’s Hodeida

Tribal fighters loyal to the Yemeni government stand by a tank in the Al-Faza area near Hodeida, Yemen. (REUTERS)
Updated 01 December 2018
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Deadly fighting erupts again in Yemen’s Hodeida

  • The Hodeida port is held by the Houthis and serves as the entry point for nearly all of the country’s imports and humanitarian aid
  • Sporadic clashes have however continued since a fragile truce began on Nov. 13

DUBAI, ADEN: Renewed violence in Yemen’s vital port city of Hodeida has left 10 fighters dead, despite a UN push for peace talks, an official and medical sources told AFP on Saturday.

An official with pro-government forces said fighting erupted in the east and south of the Red Sea city on Friday.

Intermittent clashes continued on Saturday, Hodeida residents told AFP by phone.

The violence follows a visit to the city last month by UN envoy Martin Griffiths to press for talks aimed at ending the war.

The Hodeida port is held by the Houthis and serves as the entry point for nearly all of the country’s imports and humanitarian aid. 

UN aid chief Mark Lowcock warned on Saturday that the country was “on the brink of a major catastrophe.” His comments came after deadly clashes in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida, vital for the flow of humanitarian aid.

Yemen’s internationally recognized government forces launched an assault to take Hodeida in June, but its forces had largely suspended the offensive amid intense diplomatic efforts.

Sporadic clashes have however continued since a fragile truce began on Nov. 13.

Medical sources on Saturday confirmed the bodies of eight militants had been transferred to hospitals. Two fighters with pro-government forces were also killed, according to a medical source at a hospital in an area held by the loyalists.

In a further sign of renewed tensions, Saudi Arabia said the Houthis launched a “military projectile” which hit a house in the Kingdom.

Two people were injured in the strike in Samtah governorate, Saudi state news agency SPA reported. It is the first confirmation by Riyadh of such a rocket attack since September.

The escalation comes just days ahead of proposed peace talks hosted by Sweden, which have been backed by both the coalition and militants.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, however, has played down the early December schedule and said he hoped talks would start “this year.”

“But, as you know, there have been some setbacks,” he said on Thursday. Riyadh has expressed concern over Houthi rocket attacks on Saudi territory, while the militants are seeking assurances their delegation will be able to safely leave and return to Yemen.

Previous talks planned for September in Geneva failed to get underway as the Houthi delegation never left the Yemeni capital Sanaa, arguing that the UN could not guarantee their safe return.

If conditions are met, all sides have in principle agreed to attend the talks in Sweden, including the government of Yemen’s internationally recognized President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.


Iranian official in surprise visit to Lebanon

Updated 18 July 2019
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Iranian official in surprise visit to Lebanon

  • Some of the threats made by the Zionist enemy are not in favor of the region’s security, Abdollahian says

BEIRUT: “Lebanon must be kept out of all regional crises,” said Iran’s Shoura Council assistant speaker for international affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, during a surprise visit to Beirut on Wednesday.

“We say at the top of our voice that Iran and its allies will not allow the Zionist entity and the US to damage the region’s security.”

Following his meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Abdollahian said that Tehran “is convinced that the security of Lebanon is the security of the region and the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Abdollahian added that “some of the threats made by the Zionist enemy are not in favor of the region’s security.”

He described his talks with Berri as “good and constructive.”

“We will not allow Israel, US to interfere with regional security.”

Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iran’s Shoura Council official

Abdollahian said: “We have come today to reaffirm that Iran fully supports the people, army, resistance and government of Lebanon, and we look forward to developing relations between our two countries until they reach the highest levels.”

He said he believes that the statements of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are for “domestic consumption,” accusing him of “making some moves in the region that are not in his favor.”

Netanyahu responded to a message from Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday by threatening Hezbollah during Israel’s Cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu said: “Let me be clear that if Hezbollah dares to commit an act of stupidity and attack Israel, we will deal a crushing military blow on Lebanon. But unlike Nasrallah, I do not intend to detail our plans. It would be enough to recall that, for years, Nasrallah dug terror tunnels, and we demolished them within a few days.”