Arab coalition strikes kill Houthi militia, destroys combat vehicles

Arab coalition soldier patrolling the Saudi border in Yemen. (File/AFP)
Updated 16 May 2019

Arab coalition strikes kill Houthi militia, destroys combat vehicles

  • World condemns Houthi drone attack on oil-pumping stations in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Fighter jets of the Arab coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen carried out airstrikes on a Houthi camp, killing insurgents and destroying combat vehicles, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

According to “SeptemberNet,” the attacks hit rebel targets in the Abs district west of the city of Hajjah, leaving several Houthi terrorists dead and wounded and wiping out six tanks.

Similar airstrikes targeted sites of Houthi militia at Al-Jar farms in the same Yemeni district, wrecking two vehicles and two platforms used by Houthi rebels to fire Katyusha rockets.

Rallies and gatherings of Houthi militia in central Al-Baidha province were also attacked, this time by Yemeni national army forces, backed by popular resistance. Rockets were reportedly fired on rebel gatherings at the Qashash site, in the Qirba area of Zahir district. The operation destroyed a combat car and killed three Houthis.

The coalition strikes follow Tuesday’s Houthi drone attacks on two Saudi oil-pumping stations in the desert west of Riyadh.

World leaders, Arab and Muslim organizations have condemned the attacks on the Kingdom’s east-west oil pipeline and called for a united international effort to combat terror in the region.

The Muslim World League and the Council of Arab Ministers of Interior were among the first to slam the acts of sabotage which they described as not only a threat to Middle East and world security but also the stability of global energy supplies.

Leaders from the UK, France, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Pakistan, Egypt, and Afghanistan joined the chorus of international condemnation against the Iranian-backed Houthi militias whose explosive-laden drones hit targets in Al-Duadmi and Afif. The attacks did not interrupt production or export of Saudi oil.

The Council of Ministers of Yemen, in a statement following its weekly Cabinet meeting under the chairmanship of Dr. Mueen Abdulmalik, in Aden, expressed full solidarity with Saudi Arabia.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that the attack was not only a wrong act, but would reduce the confidence needed to end the conflict in Yemen.

French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes Von der Muhll said: “These attacks, which threaten the security of Saudi Arabia and the stability of the region, are unacceptable.”

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation gave its support to measures being taken by the Kingdom to tackle extremism and terrorism.

The Bahrain Foreign Affairs Ministry said the attacks threatened the safety of world energy supplies and stressed the need for the international community to combat all groups and terrorist organizations, and any parties or states supporting them.

Pakistan reiterated its full support for Saudi Arabia against any threat to the stability and security of the Kingdom.

Libya expressed the solidarity of its people, and the Sudanese Foreign Ministry affirmed its unlimited support for all measures being taken to protect its security and oil supplies, calling on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities for protecting peace and stability in the Gulf and Arab regions.

Jordan, Afghanistan, Djibouti and Lebanon also pledged backing to the Kingdom.

Muslim World League Secretary-General Sheikh Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa said the attacks reflected the level of hatred terrorist organizations felt toward the Kingdom but added that would only increase Saudi Arabia’s determination to confront the “forces of evil.”

The Secretariat General of the Senior Scholars Council said the attacks would make the leadership and people of Saudi Arabia stronger and more determined in the face of terrorism.

UAE says joint probe into tanker attack ensures impartiality

Updated 22 May 2019

UAE says joint probe into tanker attack ensures impartiality

  • UAE says international participation in an investigation into ‘sabotage attacks’ on oil tankers will lead to ‘impartial conclusions’
  • It also indicated the results may take time

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday that the participation of several countries in an investigation into last week’s attack on oil tankers off its coast would support the “impartiality and transparency” of the findings.
The Gulf Arab state has not yet blamed anyone for the acts of sabotage on four vessels including two Saudi oil tankers, but a senior UAE official has said Abu Dhabi was concerned about Iranian behavior in the region.
“The keenness of our international partners to participate in the investigation and the concerted efforts support the impartiality and transparency in arriving at results,” the UAE foreign ministry said in a statement carried on state news agency WAM.
US government sources told Reuters they believe Iran encouraged Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia or Iraq-based militias to carry out the operation.
Tehran has distanced itself from the attack, which comes as Iran and the United States spar over sanctions and the US military presence in the Gulf region.
The UAE foreign ministry statement welcomed the participation of several “friendly and brotherly” countries in the investigation, but did not name them. It did not give a timeframe, saying the probe would take “the time required.”
UAE officials have said that the United States and France, which has a naval base in Abu Dhabi, were participating in the investigation as well as Saudi Arabia and Norway.
A Norwegian-registered oil products tanker and a UAE fuel bunker barge were among the vessels hit near Fujairah emirate, one of the world’s largest bunkering hubs located just outside the Strait of Hormuz.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash has said Abu Dhabi would show restraint after the attack and that it was committed to de-escalation during what he described as a “difficult situation” caused by Iranian behavior in the region.
Saudi Arabia has called for emergency Gulf and Arab summits in Makkah on May 30 to discuss the implications of the tanker attack and an armed drone strike two days later on Saudi oil installations in the Kingdom, for which the Houthis have claimed responsibility.