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


Turkey sentences detained judge who won human rights award to 10 years

Updated 2 min 25 sec ago
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Turkey sentences detained judge who won human rights award to 10 years

  • The Council of Europe human rights body in 2017 gave Arslan, who was detained at the time, the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize
  • The decision prompted Turkey to say it would cut back its funding to the body

ANKARA: A Turkish court sentenced a judge who previously won an award for human rights to 10 years in prison over links to the network Ankara says orchestrated an attempted coup in 2016, the state-owned Anadolu news agency said on Friday.
Murat Arslan, who has been detained for 22 months, was convicted of membership in an armed terrorist organization, after prosecutors charged him with use of the encrypted messaging app ByLock, Anadolu said.
Arslan has denied the charges and said any evidence that he had used the app was “fabricated,” Anadolu said.
The government says the outlawed app was widely used by followers of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom it blames for the attempted coup that saw rogue soldiers commandeer tanks and aircraft, attacking parliament and killing some 250 unarmed civilians.
Gulen, a former ally of President Tayyip Erdogan who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, has condemned the coup and denied any involvement with it.
The Council of Europe human rights body in 2017 gave Arslan, who was detained at the time, the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize, a decision that prompted Turkey to say it would cut back its funding to the body.
Arslan was the former head of Turkey’s Judges and Prosecutors Union, a civil legal association that was shut down by government decree in the wide crackdown that followed the coup attempt.
Since the failed coup, authorities have formally arrested some 77,000 people and sacked or suspended more than 150,000 soldiers, civil servants and more over alleged links to the coup attempt, including alleged users of ByLock.
Rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies have voiced concern over the scale of the crackdown, saying President Tayyip Erdogan was using the putsch as a pretext to quash dissent.
The government, however, says the security measures are necessary due to the gravity of the threat it faces from Gulen’s network.