Arab coalition forces intercept, destroy Houthi boat rigged with explosives

Arab coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Malki said the Houthi boat rigged with explosives was intercepted and destroyed. (AFP)
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Updated 24 February 2020

Arab coalition forces intercept, destroy Houthi boat rigged with explosives

  • Explosives-laden boat ‘a threat to regional and international security’

MUKALLA, Yemen: Saudi-led coalition naval forces in the Red Sea thwarted an attempt by Iran-backed Houthi militias to carry out a terror attack on Sunday using an unmanned boat packed with explosives.
The vessel was launched from Hodeidah province in western Yemen, but tracked and destroyed, said coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki.

“The coalition navy detected on Sunday morning an imminent hostile, terrorist attack in Southern Red Sea using a remote-controlled boat set to explode, by the terrorist Iran-backed Houthi militia,” Al-Malki said in statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

It was the third time in three months that the Houthis had attempted such an attack, a senior coast guard officer told Arab News.

The planned attack was a threat to security and maritime trade, Al-Maliki said, and the use of Hodeidah was a “glaring violation” of the UN-brokered Stockholm peace agreement in December 2018.

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Three naval mines were also discovered and destroyed in Bab-El-Mandeb strait and the southern Red Sea during the past 24 hours, bringing the number of detected naval mines deployed by the Houthi militia to 150.

“The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition continues to implement rigorous measures against this terrorist militia to neutralize and destroy such capabilities that threaten regional and international security,” Al-Malki said.

Later on Sunday, coalition warplanes carried out several airstrikes on the Houthi-held capital Sanaa, hitting the presidential palace and other military sites. Al-Maliki said the airstrikes had destroyed Houthi sites used to store ballistic missiles and drones.

Meanwhile, the coalition and Yemen’s internationally recognized government have intensified security measures around main sea and land entry posts in Yemen to prevent Iran from smuggling arms to the Houthis.

Hundreds more Yemeni coast guard soldiers have been deployed off the Yemeni coasts, and even local fishermen have been recruited.

“They are now helping us monitor the sea. They alert us about any ship or boat suspected of carrying weapons to the Houthis,” a coast guard officer in the Red Sea Khokha district told Arab News.

Vehicle inspections have also been stepped up at dozens of army and security checkpoints, and several arms shipments have already been intercepted.


Coronavirus crisis in Egypt has benefits

A man travels on a scooter past the closed El-Sayeda Zainab Mosque in Cairo. (Reuters)
Updated 31 March 2020

Coronavirus crisis in Egypt has benefits

  • The Central Bank of Egypt has directed all local banks to delay the collection of credit liabilities for six months without any rates or fines

CAIRO: People around the world are living in uncertain times as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to spread. Fatalities and infections are rising as cities and countries go into lockdown.
Egypt is under a partial lockdown, forcing people to stay, work and learn at home. Yet behind this massive change and a fear of the unknown, COVID-19 has brought advantages.
Ever since Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi decided to close schools and universities for two weeks, starting on March 15, respect for the government has increased, especially on social media.
“Suddenly the government is laying down a series of preemptive actions to slow down the spread of the virus,” Mohamed Badr, 32, a Cairo resident, said. “They disregarded the economic impact and focused on the safety of the people which made us all proud.”
There have been diplomatic gains. China’s Ambassador to Cairo Liao Liqiang said that China and Egypt are partners and true friends, lauding Egypt’s support to Chinese efforts to combat the virus.
The Central Bank of Egypt has directed all local banks to delay the collection of credit liabilities for six months without any rates or fines.
The government’s order to shut down cafes and malls during curfew hours has led to a ban on the smoking of hookahs.
With fears over infections and with a dusk-to-dawn curfew in place, there is less consumption of unhealthy food.
There are fewer road accidents too. In 2018, there were 8,480 road accidents, according to the Bureau of Statistics. The number is expected to plunge this year due to the drop in vehicles on the road.

FASTFACT

Ever since Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi decided to close schools and universities for two weeks, respect for the government has increased.

Working from home is the new normal. The culture of work from home is forcing its way in society as many learning technologies and cloud solutions are connecting homes and workplaces.
“When I used to invite people for a Zoom meeting they were surprised. Today, it’s a normal practice and many clients actually prefer this option,” a sales representative in Cairo said.
And with school and college students stuck at home, educational institutions have quickly taken up distance learning.
With millions of people now stuck in isolation, many are using the opportunity to get creative. Videos on social media show people developing hobbies, tricks, cooking skills and paintings.
Corporations are accelerating digital transformation. Several companies are racing to implement digital and cloud technologies to manage their businesses remotely. Several telco and financial institutions pushed their services online and through contact centers rather than branch visits.
Doctors are finally getting some credit. They have long called for better salaries and benefits but their requests have fallen on deaf ears. The virus has now brought some hope for a better package in the near future.
The environment is cleaner and less polluted. And now, everyone has more time to reflect.