Arab coalition targets six Houthi air defense, ballistic missile sites in Sanaa

Cars are parked outside the Abha airport in the southern Saudi Arabian popular mountain resort of the same name, on July 2, 2019. (File/AFP)
Updated 21 July 2019

Arab coalition targets six Houthi air defense, ballistic missile sites in Sanaa

  • The Iranian-backed militia remained futile in their attempts to target the civilian areas as well as the civilian population
  • The Arab coalition command would take strict measures to paralyze and neutralize all hostile capabilities of the militia

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting Yemen’s legitimate government confirmed on early Saturday morning that it had carried out an operation to destroy five air defense sites and ballistic missile depots in the Yemeni province of Sanaa, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said that the targeting process is an extension of past military operations carried out by the Arab coalition to identify and  destroy air defense capabilities and other hostile capabilities of the Iranian-backed Houthi militias.

Al-Maliki said that the coalition forces were committed to preventing the Houthi militia, as well as other terrorist organizations, from obtaining such capabilities, which represent a direct threat to civilians, UN aircraft and air navigation.

Al-Maliki said that the targeting process was consistent with international humanitarian law and its customary laws, and that the leadership of the coalition forces had taken all preventive procedures and measures to protect civilians.


• July 20: The coalition forces intercepted a drone directed toward Abha.

• July 17: The forces intercepted a drone launched toward Jazan.

• July 16: The forces shot down three drones that were heading for southern Saudi Arabia and the cities of Jazan and Abha. 

• July 15: The forces intercepted two drones launched toward civilian targets in southern Saudi Arabia.

• June 23: An attack on Abha airport killed a Syrian national and wounded 21 other civilians.

• June 12: A missile attack on Abha airport wounded 26 civilians.

• July 2: Another attack on the Abha airport left nine civilians wounded.

Also on Saturday, the coalition forces intercepted and shot down a drone launched by the Houthi militia in Amran governorate and directed toward Abha.

Al-Maliki said that the Iranian-backed militia remained futile in their attempts to target civilian areas.

The coalition will take strict measures to paralyze and neutralize all hostile capabilities of the militia within international humanitarian law, he said.

Repeated Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia have been reported since the Kingdom led a coalition intervention in March 2015 to restore the UN-backed Yemeni government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, which the militia had ousted.

Egypt’s creative solutions to the plastic menace

Updated 47 min 1 sec ago

Egypt’s creative solutions to the plastic menace

  • Egyptian social startups are taking alternative approaches to fostering awareness and reducing waste

CAIRO: Global plastics production reached 348 million tons in 2017, rising from 335 million tons in 2016, according to Plastics Europe. 

Critically, most plastic waste is not properly managed: Around 55 percent of it was landfilled or discarded in 2015. These numbers are extremely concerning because plastic products take anything from 450 to 1,000 years to decompose, and the effects on the environment, especially on marine and human life, are catastrophic.

While initiatives around the world are taking action to combat this problem, some Egyptian projects are doing it more creatively.

“We’re the first website in the Middle East and North Africa that trades waste,” said Alaa Afifi, founder and CEO of Bekia. “People can get rid of any waste at their disposal — plastic, paper and cooking oil — and exchange it for over 65 products on our website.”

Products for trading include rice, tea, pasta, cooking oil, subway tickets and school supplies.

Bekia was launched in Cairo in 2017. Initially, the business model did not prove successful.

“We used to rent a car and go to certain locations every 40 days to collect waste from people,” Afifi, 26, explained. “We then created a website and started encouraging people to use it.”

After the website was launched, people could wait at home for someone to collect the waste. “Instead of 40 days, we now could visit people within a week.”

To use Bekia’s services, people need to log onto the website and specify what they want to discard. They are assigned points based on the waste they are offering, and these points can be used in one of three ways: Donated to people in need, saved for later, or exchanged for products. As for the collected waste, it is given to specialized recycling companies for processing.

“We want to have 50,000 customers over the next two years who regularly use our service to get rid of their waste,” Afifi said.  

Trying to spread environmental awareness has not been easy. “We had a lot of trouble with initial investment at first, and we got through with an investment that was far from enough. The second problem we faced was spreading this culture among people — in the first couple of months, we received no orders,” Afifi said.

The team soldiered on and slowly built a client base, currently serving 7,000 customers. In terms of what lies ahead for Bekia, he said: “We’re expanding from 22 to 30 areas in Cairo this year. We’re launching an app very soon and a new website with better features.”

Go Clean, another Egyptian recycling startup dedicated to raising environmental awareness, works under the patronage of the Ministry of Environment. “We started in 2017 by recycling waste from factories, and then by February 2019 we started expanding,” said founder and CEO Mohammed Hamdy, 30.

The Cairo-based company collects recyclables from virtually all places, including households, schools, universities, restaurants, cafes, companies and embassies. The customers separate the items into categories and then fill out a registration form. Alternatively, they can make contact through WhatsApp or Facebook. A driver is then dispatched to collect the waste, carrying a scale to weigh it. 

“The client can be paid in cash for the weight of their recyclables, or they can make a donation to a special needs school in Cairo,” Hamdy explained. There is also the option of trading the waste for dishwashing soap, with more household products to be added in the future.

Trying to cover a country with 100 million people was never going to be easy, and Go Clean faced some logistical problems. It overcame them by hiring more drivers and getting more trucks. There was another challenge along the way: “We had to figure out a way to train the drivers, from showing them how to use GPS and deal with clients,” said Hamdy.

“We want to spread awareness about the environment everywhere. We go to schools, universities, companies and even factories to give sessions about the importance of recycling and how dangerous plastic is. We’re currently covering 20 locations across Cairo and all of Alexandria. We want to cover all of Egypt in the future,” he added.

With a new app on the way, Hamdy said things are looking positive for the social startup, and people are becoming invested in the initiative. “We started out with seven orders per day, and now we get over 100.”