KSRelief clears 2,321 mines planted by Iranian-backed Houthis

24 anti-personnel mines, 1,018 anti-tank mines were cleared. (SPA)
Updated 29 April 2019

KSRelief clears 2,321 mines planted by Iranian-backed Houthis

  • Steps up humanitarian activities in region, elsewhere

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has stepped up a number of initiatives in Yemen and Sudan ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, removing mines and providing aid packages to displaced and impoverished families.

MASAM, KSRelief’s mine removal project in Yemen, successfully cleared 24 anti-personnel mines, 1,018 anti-tank mines, 197 improvised explosive devices and an additional 1,082 pieces of unexploded ordinance during the fourth week of April. Since its launch, the project has removed 63,719 mines and spare munitions planted by Iranian-backed Houthi militias.

Meanwhile, during the same period, over 1,500 food baskets were also distributed in the towns of Heran and Abbs in the province of Hijja, benefiting 9,096 people. The center also released statistics on its medical campaigns in Yemen for the first quarter of 2019. In the port city of Hodeidah, more than 1,000 cholera cases were reported to KSRelief clinics by the beginning of April.

KSRelief has implemented 330 projects worth $1.99 billion in Yemen in partnership with 80 UN agencies and international and local NGOs. These included the MASAM mine clearance project, a project for rehabilitating thousands of children recruited by Houthi militias, and the establishment of artificial limb centers in Marib and Aden.

Helping Sudan

The center has announced that aid worth $549,000, comprising 13,725 food baskets, would be distributed across five Sudanese states to over 68,000 people, at a ceremony in Khartoum. The event was attended by the Saudi ambassador to Sudan, Ali bin Hassan Jafar, and the representative of the director general of Sudanese Moral Guidance, Maj. Gen. Fathi Al-Mahal.

KSRelief also revealed various other international projects beyond the Middle East and North African regions it has been involved in, including the bequest of 11,200 kilos of dates to the Republic of Senegal last month.

Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

Updated 56 min 22 sec ago

Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

  • Kuwait investigating the sighting of a drone over its territory and is coordinating with Saudi Arabia
  • US says no evidence attacks came from Yemen, as claimed by the Houthis

JEDDAH: Baghdad on Sunday denied any link to drone attacks on Saudi oil plants, after media speculation that the strikes were launched from Iraq despite being claimed by Yemeni rebels.
The attacks early Saturday targeted two key oil installations, causing massive fires and taking out half of the Kingdom’s vast oil output.
The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen, where an Arab coalition has been fighting to restore the internationally recognized government.
But the Wall Street Journal reported that officials were investigating the possibility the attacks involved missiles launched from Iraq or Iran.

Some Iraqi media outlets also said Saturday’s attack on Saudi oil facilities came from Iraq but Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi on Sunday denied the reports and vowed to punish anyone who did use Iraq as a launch pad for attacks in the region. 
“Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors,” he said. “The Iraqi government will be extremely firm with whomever tries to violate the constitution.”

The reports come after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo squarely accused Tehran of being behind Saturday’s operation, saying there was no evidence the “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” was launched from Yemen.

Kuwait also said it was investigating the sighting of a drone over its territory and is coordinating with Saudi Arabia and other countries. 
“The security leadership has started the necessary investigations over the sighting of a drone over the coastline of Kuwait City and what measures were taken to confront it,” the Kuwaiti cabinet said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah directed military and security officers to tighten security at vital installations and to take all necessary measures “to protect Kuwait’s security.”
Local Kuwaiti media reported that witnesses say they saw a drone near a presidential palace on Saturday morning, around the same time of the attacks in Saudi Arabia.
Iraq is home to several Iran-backed militias and paramilitary factions, placing it in an awkward situation amid rising tensions between its two main sponsors, Tehran and Washington.

Iraq has called for its territory to be spared any spillover in the standoff between the US and Iran, which has included a series of attacks on shipping in sensitive Gulf waters.
Recent raids on bases belonging to Iraqi Shiite paramilitary groups linked with Iran, attributed to Israel, sparked fears of an escalation.
There have been no military consequences so far, but the strikes have heightened divisions between pro-Tehran and pro-Washington factions in Iraq’s political class.
Baghdad has recently moved to repair ties with Saudi Arabia, a key US ally — much to Iran’s chagrin.
Riyadh recently announced a major border post on the Iraqi frontier would reopen mid-October, after being closed for almost three decades.