Ship with Iran arms intercepted; dozens of Houthis killed in coalition strikes

Updated 18 February 2016

Ship with Iran arms intercepted; dozens of Houthis killed in coalition strikes

JEDDAH: The Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen has intercepted a cargo ship coming from Djibouti to Hodeidah port carrying military equipment under the guise of carrying medical supplies.
Coalition sources told Sky News Arabia that a search of the ship Menburt Cedar, which was bearing the flag of the Marshall Islands, showed it was carrying encrypted military communication equipment and other military hardware in containers originating from the port of Bandar Abbas in southern Iran.
The ship was intercepted en route to the port of Hodeidah and taken to Jazan, where it was inspected in the presence of international observers, the sources said.
Coalition forces have in the past seized a number of boats and ships as they attempted to smuggle weapons to the Iran-backed Houthi militias and allied forces loyal to deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Meanwhile, Saudi-led airstrikes and recent clashes have killed at least 59 Houthi rebels, including prominent leaders, with dozens injured, Al-Arabiya News reported Monday.
Clashes took place in the south-western governorate of Taiz, where the coalition targeted Houthi-held areas, according to sources with the Popular Resistance Forces (PRF).
Yahya Zafran, a Houthi leader, was among 29 militants killed.
Sources said six Houthis ultras were killed in clashes in Marib province, and a Houthi weapons depot was destroyed by coalition airstrikes.
Ten Houthi fighters were killed, including leader Yahya Al-Mutawakkil Taha, in clashes with the national army and PRF in Sanaa.
In central Ibb province, sources said the PRF carried out a surprise attack on Houthi militias, killing five.
In Al-Bayda province, the PRF attacked Houthi positions, killing five militants and wounding others.
In Hodeidah, Houthi leader Abdulwahab Al-Houthi was reportedly killed by the PRF.
In a separate development, shelling from Yemen killed a Saudi border guard on duty on the southern frontier, the Interior Ministry said on Monday.
He died during a bombardment on Sunday evening of a border post in Al-Harth sector of Jazan region, it said in a statement carried by SPA.

RELATED STORY: Coalition seizes boat carrying Iran arms for Houthis 

2016-02-16 05:46:57 +0300


Lebanon not expecting new aid pledges at Paris meeting

Updated 10 December 2019

Lebanon not expecting new aid pledges at Paris meeting

  • The political impasse returned to square one on Sunday when a tentative agreement on a new PM unraveled
  • Lebanon has also been in a political impasse since Saad Al-Hariri quit as prime minister on Oct. 29

BEIRUT/PARIS: Lebanon does not expect new aid pledges at conference which France is hosting on Wednesday to press for the quick formation of a new government that can tackle an acute financial crisis.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian urged Lebanon to create a new government swiftly or risk the crisis worsening and threatening the country’s stability.
The economic crisis is the worst since the 1975-90 civil war: a liquidity crunch has led banks to enforce capital controls and the Lebanese pound to slump by one third.
Lebanon has also been in a political impasse since Saad Al-Hariri quit as prime minister on Oct. 29, prompted by protests against the ruling elite, with no agreement on a new government.
Nadim Munla, senior adviser to Hariri, who is running the government as caretaker, told Reuters the Paris meeting would probably signal a readiness to offer support once a government is formed that commits to reforms.
“They will recognize that there is a short-term problem and that if and when a government (is formed) that basically responds to the aspirations of people, most probably the international community will be ready to step in and provide support to Lebanon, or additional support,” he said.
“It is not a pledging conference.”
Lebanon won pledges of over $11 billion at a conference last year conditional on reforms that it has failed to implement. The economic crisis is rooted in years of corruption and waste that have generated one of the world’s heaviest public debt burdens.
The political impasse returned to square one on Sunday when a tentative agreement on a new prime minister unraveled.
Hariri is now seen as the only candidate for the post.
He has said he would only lead a cabinet of specialist ministers, believing this is the way to address the economic crisis, attract aid, and satisfy protesters who have been in the streets since Oct. 17 seeking the removal of a political class blamed for corruption and misrule.
But Hezbollah and its allies including President Michel Aoun say the government must include politicians.
“Let’s see the coming few days and if there will be an agreement among the political parties on a formation ... otherwise we might take longer,” Munla said. Hariri would be willing to have politicians in cabinet but they should not be “the regular known faces of previous governments.”