Houthi militants killed, others wounded in clashes in Yemen’s Taiz

Houthi militants march during the funeral of a Military leader killed in the province of Hodeida, northern district of Abs, Hajjah governorate, on July 18, 2018. (File Photo: AFP/Essa Ahmed)
Updated 25 July 2018

Houthi militants killed, others wounded in clashes in Yemen’s Taiz

  • “Intermittent clashes took place between forces of the National Army and the Houthi militia on several fronts,” Yemen’s Defense Ministry said
  • Elsewhere, fighting erupted between troops and the militants on several fronts in Al-Baydah province

DUBAI: Fierce clashes erupted between the Yemeni army and Houthi militia in western Taiz on Wednesday leaving several militants dead and wounded, Saudi state-news channel reported.
“Intermittent clashes took place between forces of the National Army and the Houthi militia on several fronts,” Yemen’s Defense Ministry said in a statement issued on its official website September Net.
Elsewhere, fighting erupted between troops and the militants on several fronts in Al-Baydah province.
Local sources said the fighting broke out after Houthis attacked army forces in the Aqab Al-Qantha’ area, who repelled the attack and forced the militia to retreat and flee.


Rockets hit Iraq base hosting US troops, stoking concerns

Updated 46 min 34 sec ago

Rockets hit Iraq base hosting US troops, stoking concerns

  • Security sources said they believed Kataib Hezbollah was responsible
  • More than a dozen rockets hit the Qayyarah airbase in northern Iraq last month

BAGHDAD: Two rockets hit the Al-Balad air base, north of Baghdad, late Thursday, Iraqi security forces said, the latest in a flurry of attacks on bases hosting US troops that has alarmed US officials.
It came as Washington considers deploying between 5,000 and 7,000 fresh troops to the Middle East to counter its arch-foe Iran, a US official told AFP.
Thursday’s attack with Katyusha rockets did not cause any casualties or material damage but “came close,” a US official told AFP.
Washington has been concerned by a recent spate of attacks on Iraqi bases where some 5,200 US troops are deployed to help Iraqi forces ensure militants do not regroup.
The attacks, targeting either bases or the US embassy in Baghdad, have averaged more than one per week over the past six weeks.
“There is a spike in rocket attacks,” a second US official said, adding that although they had caused no US casualties and little damage, they were increasingly worrying.
Five rockets hit Al-Asad airbase on December 3, just four days after Vice President Mike Pence visited troops there.
Security sources said they believed Kataib Hezbollah, a powerful Shiite faction close to Tehran and blacklisted by Washington, was responsible.
More than a dozen rockets hit the Qayyarah airbase in northern Iraq last month, one of the largest attacks in recent months to hit an area where US troops are based.
There has been no claim of responsibility for the attacks and Washington has not blamed any particular faction.
But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blamed similar attacks on Iran-aligned groups.
Iran holds vast sway in Iraq, especially among the more hard-line elements of the Hashed Al-Shaabi, a paramilitary force largely made up of Shiite militias backed by Tehran.
Asked whether the repeated rocket attacks made the Hashed a bigger threat to US troops than the Daesh group, the official agreed.
“It is. The question is, when is someone going to call BS?” he said.
Multiple US diplomatic and military sources have told AFP of their growing frustration with such attacks.
They say they are relying on their Iraqi partners to play a “de-conflicting” role between them and the Hashed to prevent any clashes.
That is a complicated task, as the Hashed has been ordered to integrate with the regular security forces but many of its fighters continue to operate with some independence.
“We all recognize the danger out here. Sometimes our Iraqi partners say, well what can I do?” the official said.
Tensions between Iran and the United States have soared since the Washington pulled out of a landmark nuclear agreement with Tehran last year and reimposed crippling sanctions.
Baghdad — which is close to both countries and whose many security forces have been trained by either the US or Iran — is worried about being caught in the middle.