Feeling the pinch in Syria, Iran ups ante in Yemen

Saudi Patriot missiles enhance the Kingdom’s defense capability against the Houthi threat from Yemen. (Photo courtesy: Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces.
Updated 09 April 2017

Feeling the pinch in Syria, Iran ups ante in Yemen

JEDDAH: Feeling the heat from the US, Iran is attempting to shift global attention to Yemen, an analyst told Arab News, as Arab Coalition Forces intercepted 12 ballistic missiles launched by Houthi militias toward the Yemeni city of Al-Mokha.
In the early hours of Saturday, the Patriot system intercepted the missiles, which were launched within less than one hour, and prevented the deaths of civilians, Rajeh Badi, Yemeni government spokesman, told Arab News on Saturday.
Twelve ballistic missiles launched in less than one hour is an extraordinary attack, he said.
He called on the international community to move vigorously to disarm the militia, which poses a risk to the lives of Yemenis.
Hamdan Al-Shehri, a political analyst and international relations expert, told Arab News that the launching of a large number of ballistic missiles in a short time constitutes a serious escalation by the Iran-backed rebels. He added that the Houthi attacks call for an international response to curb the Iranian intervention not only in Yemen but in the region.
“The Iranians have been supplying Houthis with weapons for years, and will continue to do so,” Al-Shehri said. “The US strike in Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons was decisive; a similar action must be taken against Iran in Yemen in order to bring the Yemeni crisis to a peaceful settlement.”
He said: “Iran is suspected of having a hand in Syria’s chemical attack just as it is behind the launch of the ballistic missiles on a densely populated Yemeni city of Al-Mokha. Fortunately, the coalition’s air defense system intercepted the missiles and prevented carnage of civilians. The international community should take this Houthi crime as a serious escalation and act without delay.”
Yemeni spokesman Badi said Iran is still supplying the Houthi militia with weapons and missiles via more than one route including Yemeni seaports, which are still under the control of these militias such as Al-Hodeida Port.
He called on the international community to liberate all Yemeni ports from the Houthis. He said missiles are being launched daily on the cities of Marib, Aden and Taiz.
In the meantime, the Yemeni Army has regained two new locations in Hijah Province after a fierce battle with the Houthi militia, army sources said.
The sources said the Yemeni forces captured three members of the Houthi militia in the two captured posts, while a number of deaths and injuries were reported among the militia during the Yemeni Army’s attack on the militia in Tiba Sofa and Bihan fronts.
Meanwhile, the Yemeni Army foiled an infiltration attempt by the Houthis in the Isailan area, sources said.


Egypt churches reopen as new infections wane

Updated 5 min ago

Egypt churches reopen as new infections wane

  • The Coptic Orthodox Church said it would receive the faithful in its churches with restrictions
  • Egypt on Sunday reported its lowest daily confirmed coronavirus cases in more than two months

CAIRO: Egypt’s churches are reopening their doors to the faithful on Monday for the first time in more than four months due to a coronavirus lockdown.
The Coptic Orthodox Church said in a statement that it would receive the faithful in its churches with restrictions that include social distancing and wearing masks.
Other churches are also reopening across the Arab World’s most populous county, which has seen a steady decline in coronavirus infections in the past two weeks.
Christians constitute around 10% of Egypt’s predominantly Muslim 100 million people.
Egypt on Sunday reported its lowest daily confirmed cases of coronavirus in more than two months, with 167 infections and 31 deaths.
Overall, Egypt has reported around 94,450 confirmed cases including 4,865 fatalities.