17 dead as Yemen loyalists attack rebels on Red Sea coast

Houthi militants patrol the site of a parade held by newly recruited Houthi fighters before the fighters head to the frontline to fight against government forces, in Sanaa, Yemen on January 5, 2017. (REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)
Updated 07 January 2017

17 dead as Yemen loyalists attack rebels on Red Sea coast

ADEN, Yemen: Yemeni government forces attacked rebel positions on the Red Sea coast on Saturday sparking clashes in which six soldiers and 11 rebels were killed, a loyalist commander said.
The assault on the coastal district of Dhubab, just 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of the Bab Al-Mandab Strait where the busy shipping lane enters the Arabian Sea, came after the government sent reinforcements from its headquarters in Aden.
The government and its allies in a Saudi-led coalition recaptured the strait in October 2015.
But the rebels still control nearly all Yemen’s Red Sea coast to the north, posing what the coalition says is a threat to international shipping.
In September and October, two US warships and a United Arab Emirates vessel contracted to the coalition were targeted by missile fire from rebel-held territory.
The loyalist offensive failed to dislodge the rebels from their positions as they put up fierce resistance, leaving many wounded on both sides, the commander said.
The Yemeni conflict has killed more than 7,000 people since the coalition’s military intervention began in March 2015, according to the United Nations.


German defense minister rejects Turkey complaint over Libya weapons ship search

Updated 24 November 2020

German defense minister rejects Turkey complaint over Libya weapons ship search

  • Germany insists it acted correctly in boarding a Turkish ship to enforce arms embargo of Libya
  • Turkey summoned European diplomats to complain at the operation

BERLIN: Germany’s defense minister on Tuesday rejected Turkey’s complaints over the search of a Turkish freighter in the Mediterranean Sea by a German frigate participating in a European mission, insisting that German sailors acted correctly.
Sunday’s incident prompted Turkey to summon diplomats representing the European Union, Germany and Italy and assert that the Libya-bound freighter Rosaline-A was subjected to an “illegal” search by personnel from the German frigate Hamburg. The German ship is part of the European Union’s Irini naval mission, which is enforcing an arms embargo against Libya.
German officials say that the order to board the ship came from Irini’s headquarters in Rome and that Turkey protested while the team was on board. The search was then ended.
Turkey says the search was “unauthorized and conducted by force.”
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer backed the German crew’s actions.
“It is important to me to make really clear that the Bundeswehr soldiers behaved completely correctly,” she said during an appearance in Berlin. “They did what is asked of them in the framework of the European Irini mandate.”
“That there is this debate with the Turkish side points to one of the fundamental problems of this European mission,” Kramp-Karrenbauer added, without elaborating. “But it is very important to me to say clearly here that there are no grounds for these accusations that are now being made against the soldiers.”
This was the second incident between Turkey and naval forces from a NATO ally enforcing an arms blockade against Libya.
In June, NATO launched an investigation over an incident between Turkish warships and a French naval vessel in the Mediterranean, after France said one of its frigates was “lit up” three times by Turkish naval targeting radar when it tried to approach a Turkish civilian ship suspected of involvement in arms trafficking.
Turkey supports a UN-backed government in Tripoli against rival forces based in the country’s east. It has complained that the EU naval operation focuses its efforts too much on the Tripoli administration and turns a blind eye to weapons sent to the eastern-based forces.
In Ankara, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that Irini was “flawed from the onset.”
“It is not based on firm international legal foundations,” Akar said. He renewed Turkey’s criticism of the German ship’s actions.
“The incident was against international laws and practices. It was wrong,” he said.
Kramp-Karrenbauer stressed that “Turkey is still an important partner for us in NATO.” Turkey being outside the military alliance would make the situation even more difficult, she argued, and Turkish soldiers are “absolutely reliable partners” in NATO missions.
But she conceded that Turkey poses “a big challenge” because of how its domestic politics have developed and because it has its “own agenda, which is difficult to reconcile with European questions in particular.”