Saudi-led coalition ‘will not allow Houthi militia to become another Hezbollah’

Major General Ahmed Al Asiri, spokesman for the Arab Coalition attends a press briefing at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London, Britain, in this November 3, 2016 file photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 15 April 2017

Saudi-led coalition ‘will not allow Houthi militia to become another Hezbollah’

PARIS: The Arab coalition will not allow Houthi militias in Yemen to become like Hezbollah in Lebanon, its spokesman said.
Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri said the coalition would not accept any notion that the militants become part of a solution in Yemen.
Speaking at a forum in Paris, Al-Assiri said military operations in Yemen are being performed with caution in order to protect civilians, adding that Houthi militias are trying to hide their command and control centers among civilians.
“We seek to deliver humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people,” he said. “The Arab coalition was created to preserve the Yemeni state, and the coalition’s main goal is to preserve its legitimacy and people’s rights, and to alleviate the suffering of civilians subjected to Houthis’ injustice.”
He noted that legitimate forces have achieved progress in Yemen and the political leadership has returned to Aden.
Al-Assiri said Yemen’s suffering started the day the Houthis turned against the legitimate government, with militias using civilians as human shields and disguising their military command among them.
He advised against “hasty” executions of military plans in Yemen, which “may lead to losses. The policy of blockading the militias leads to effective results.”
The coalition cooperated with Yemeni forces to defeat Al-Qaeda in Yemen, he said, stressing that it is seeking “a comprehensive political solution that satisfies everyone.”
A solution for Yemen has to entail the implementation of international resolutions and to be consistent with the will of the Yemeni people, with no gray areas that might consider the militants as part of the solution, Al-Assiri said.
He added that the legitimate government in Yemen is training young people on security and combating terrorism, while the coalition avoids using indiscriminate bombing that would endanger civilians.
Al-Assiri said the coalition’s sea blockade is not a siege, it is only a means of controlling the parties that use the waters, and as such, claims that the blockade has led to famine are false.


Israel detains Palestinian journalists for ‘illegal activity’

Updated 42 min 3 sec ago

Israel detains Palestinian journalists for ‘illegal activity’

  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the journalists’ detention as ‘part of the Israeli government’s scheme to entrench Israeli control over the occupied city of Jerusalem and its holy sites’

JERUSALEM: Israeli police on Friday detained four journalists from Palestine’s official television station in Jerusalem, drawing protest from Palestinians who say their activities in the holy city are increasingly restricted.

The Palestine TV crew was filming a talk show outside of Jerusalem’s walled Old City when Israeli officers detained them and took their equipment, the Authority’s Wafa news service said.

The journalists with the daily “Good Morning Jerusalem” program were held for four hours at a police station in Jerusalem and later released, said Mohammad Barghouti, Palestine TV’s general manager for news.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said: “The journalists were detained in connection with illegal activity by (the) Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem.”

Israel forbids any official activity in Jerusalem by the Western-backed PA, saying it breaches Israel’s sovereignty over the city and violates interim peace agreements.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, as capital of a future state. Israel annexed the area after capturing it in the 1967 Middle East war and says the entire city is its eternal and indivisible capital.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the journalists’ detention as “part of the Israeli government’s scheme to entrench Israeli control over the occupied city of Jerusalem and its holy sites.”

In November, Israel ordered the closure of Palestine TV’s Jerusalem office for six months on the grounds that it was planning to stage activities for the PA, which exercises limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank adjacent to Jerusalem.

An office of the PA’s Education Ministry in Jerusalem was also given a six-month closure notice in November, which Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said at the time was “part of a firm policy against any attempt by the (PA) to violate our sovereignty in the capital.”

The last round of peace talks between the two sides broke down in 2014. Palestinians have boycotted US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts, partly over his recognition in 2017 of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.