Houthi drone control center destroyed in Yemen as US condemns Lahaj attack

A wounded Yemen soldier moments after a Houthi drone explodes above Yemen's Al-Anad airbase on Jan.10 2019 . (AFP)
Updated 12 January 2019
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Houthi drone control center destroyed in Yemen as US condemns Lahaj attack

  • Strike comes after six people were killed when the Houthis exploded a drone above a military parade in Lahaj
  • United States on "strongly condemned" the attack at Al-Anad Air Base

JEDDAH: A Houthi communications center controlling drones has been destroyed, the Arab coalition supporting the legitimate government in Yemen said Friday.

The location of the drone control center was formerly occupied by a Yemeni communications company but was then taken over by Houthi militia who turned it into an operations center.

On Thursday, six people were killed when the Houthis exploded a drone above a military parade in Lahaj province.

The United States on Friday "strongly condemned" the attack at Al-Anad Air Base, which jeopardizes a ceasefire for the port of Hodeidah agreed at talks in Sweden last month.

"This attack contravenes the spirit of the Hodeidah ceasefire and the progress made last month at the UN-led talks in Sweden," the State Department said. "We urge all sides to honor the commitments they made in Sweden to their fellow Yemenis by refraining from violence and provocative acts."

The escalation came after the UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths this week warned "substantial progress" was needed on the ground before full-blown negotiations could be launched on ending the civil war.

Britain on Friday presented a UN Security Council draft resolution that would expand the international observer mission monitoring the Hodeidah ceasefire and allow humanitarian aid to reach millions.
The council is expected to vote on the measure next week, diplomats said.
The mission would provide for the deployment of up to 75 monitors in the rebel-held city of Hodeida and its port along with the ports of Saleef and Ras Issa for an initial period of six months, AFP reported.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to "expeditiously" deploy the full mission, led by retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert.
Meanwhile, a large explosion took place at an oil refinery in Aden on Friday evening, Al Arabiya reported. The cause of the blast was unclear


Netanyahu to cut US trip short after rocket attack near Tel Aviv

Updated 10 min 55 sec ago
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Netanyahu to cut US trip short after rocket attack near Tel Aviv

  • Netanyahu said the incident will evoke a strong Israeli reaction
  • Palestinian rockets rarely reach an area at that distance from Gaza

MISHMERET/JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that he is to cut short his trip to the United States after a rocket attack near Tel Aviv.

“In light of the security events I decided to cut short my visit to the US,” Netanyahu said, calling the attack a heinous crime that would draw a strong Israeli response.

He said he would meet with President Donald Trump in the coming hours and then fly back immediately.

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a house in a community north of Tel Aviv and caused it to catch fire, wounding seven Israelis, authorities and medics said.

Israel’s army said the rocket was fired from the Palestinian enclave run by Islamist movement Hamas, raising the risk of another escalation between the two sides just ahead of April 9 Israeli elections.

The house hit was located in the community of Mishmeret, police said. Medics said they were treating one Israeli with moderate wounds and four others injured lightly.

Mishmeret is more than 80 kilometers from the Gaza Strip and rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave at that distance is rare.

Monday’s incident comes after two rockets were fired from Gaza toward Tel Aviv — also rare — on March 14.

No damage or injuries were caused, but Israel responded to that and further rocket fire by hitting what it said were around 100 Hamas targets across the Gaza Strip.

Four Palestinians were reported wounded in those strikes.

Both Hamas and its ally Islamic Jihad denied they were behind the March 14 rocket fire toward Tel Aviv, raising the possibility they were launched by fringe groups.

Israel’s military said they were launched by Hamas, but later there were Israeli media reports that the army’s preliminary assessment was that they had been fired by mistake during maintenance work.

The reports were a sign that Israel was seeking to calm tensions. The military had refused to comment on the reports at the time.

Monday’s rocket comes just days ahead of the March 30 one-year anniversary of Palestinian protests and clashes along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel.

An informal truce between Hamas and Israel had led to relative calm along the border of the blockaded strip, but recent weeks have seen another uptick in violence.