Yemen kills three Al-Qaeda militants, captures two in raid in Mahra

Yemen kills three Al-Qaeda militants, captures two in raid in Mahra
Security men stand guard in Sanaa, Yemen May 6, 2020. (REUTERS)
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Updated 03 October 2020

Yemen kills three Al-Qaeda militants, captures two in raid in Mahra

Yemen kills three Al-Qaeda militants, captures two in raid in Mahra
  • Al-Qaeda in Yemen, also known as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or AQAP, has suffered fatal blows since early 2016 when Arab coalition-backed Yemeni forces pushed them out of their main strongholds in southern Yemen

AL-MUKALLA: Yemeni security forces, backed by the Arab coalition, killed three Al-Qaeda militants and captured two others in a raid on their hideout on Friday in Al-Ghaydah city, the capital of the western province of Mahra, local media and residents said.

Large explosions rocked many districts in the city of Al-Ghaydah on Friday morning as security forces raided a building, triggering a gunfire battle.

“The explosions began shaking the city at nearly 2.30 a.m. and lasted for nine hours,” a resident who preferred to remain anonymous told Arab News by telephone, adding that security authorities sealed off the area, preventing people from leaving their homes.

Army troops and security forces also intensified security measures and checkups at the province’s main entrances. Local media said that when security forces were about to storm the building, an Al-Qaeda militant blew up his explosive-laden belt, killing himself and two others.

Two other militants surrendered during the raid, local media reported. Mohammed Ali Yasser, the governor of Mahra, did not answer Arab News calls.

Al-Qaeda in Yemen, also known as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or AQAP, has suffered fatal blows since early 2016 when Arab coalition-backed Yemeni forces pushed them out of their main strongholds in southern Yemen after killing a large number of their operatives. In 2015, the militants cashed in on the anarchy and security vacuum that ensued from the earlier military expansion of the Iranian-backed Houthis to seize control of the main cities in southern Yemen, including the city of Al-Mukalla, the capital of the southeastern province of Hadramout.

Prisoner swap
The internationally recognized government and pro-independence Southern Transitional Council (STC) on Thursday swapped dozens of prisoners who were captured during fighting this year.

A local army officer told Arab News that the army released 21 separatists in exchange for 37 army soldiers, including Brig. Sayf Al-Ghoufesh, the commander of 115 Brigade in Abyan. “The prisoner swap took place in Sheikh Salem area in Abyan following a successful mediation,” the officer said.

HIGHLIGHT

Large explosions rocked many districts in the city of Al-Ghaydah on Friday morning as security forces raided a building, triggering a gunfire battle.

In May, a major offensive by army troops triggered heavy fighting with STC forces in the southern province of Abyan and led to the death of dozens of troops on both sides. Despite the heavy fighting, neither the army nor the separatists managed to make any major military breakthrough. A Saud-led military committee is currently in the contested areas in Abyan to monitor a cease-fire agreed under the Riyadh Agreement.

Determination
Yemeni Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Mohammad Ali Al-Maqdashi said on Thursday that army troops and allied tribesmen were determined to foil Iranian designs in Yemen and put an end to the Houthi coup against the internationally recognized government.

Inspecting liberated areas in the northern province of Jouf, Al-Maqdashi thanked the Arab coalition for its military support to the Yemeni army, adding that tribesmen in Marib, Jouf and Al-Bayda have shored up army troops in their continuing battle against the Houthis.

“Today we are more confident that our people will prevail and the Houthis and the Iranian project will not survive,” Al-Maqdashi said, according to the official news agency SABA.

 


Salih calls for respect for Iraqi sovereignty

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (R), and Barham Salih, President of the Republic of Iraq, meeting during the the 76th session of the UNGA. (AP)
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (R), and Barham Salih, President of the Republic of Iraq, meeting during the the 76th session of the UNGA. (AP)
Updated 14 sec ago

Salih calls for respect for Iraqi sovereignty

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (R), and Barham Salih, President of the Republic of Iraq, meeting during the the 76th session of the UNGA. (AP)
  • President: Iraq, Iran should maintain ties based on mutual respect
  • Concerns raised over hardships caused by Iranian, Turkish dams

WASHINGTON D.C.: Iraqi President Barham Salih said his country should not be used as a proxy by its more powerful neighbors Iran and Turkey to settle regional conflicts.

Speaking at an event hosted on Wednesday by the Council on Foreign Relations, he added that Iran might be wary of Iraq’s reemergence as a regional power in the future, but that both countries should maintain ties based on mutual respect.

Iran maintains a powerful influence on Iraqi domestic politics through political parties and militias that receive political and financial support from Tehran.

Salih, who is attending the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, said Iraq and Iran should treat each other as “sovereign states.”

He added that he met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the UNGA, and discussed bilateral relations and Ankara’s incursions into Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish militants.

Salih said recent droughts and the loss of agricultural land, mainly due to dams built by Turkey and Iran that restrict the flow of water downstream to Iraq, are causing severe problems for his country.

Iraq depends for its agriculture on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which flow downstream to Syria and Iraq from Turkey.

An extensive Turkish dam system has restricted the flow of the rivers downstream, causing severe droughts in both Arab countries.

Similarly, Iranian dams have caused drought and economic hardship in Iraq, especially in the Kurdish region.

Salih said the situation will worsen as Iraq’s population of around 40 million is projected to double by 2050.

He stressed the need for Iraq to establish long-term economic planning to address an eventual drop in its oil sales — which represent the majority of its income — due to emerging technologies that do not depend on oil.

Salih discussed Iraq seeking stronger economic ties with Jordan and Egypt, including connecting the three countries with a common electrical grid and building an Iraqi oil pipeline that goes through Jordan.


Ethiopia will ‘pay price’ for Renaissance Dam: Arab League chief

Ethiopia will ‘pay price’ for Renaissance Dam: Arab League chief
Updated 23 September 2021

Ethiopia will ‘pay price’ for Renaissance Dam: Arab League chief

Ethiopia will ‘pay price’ for Renaissance Dam: Arab League chief

Ethiopia will “pay the price” for constructing the Renaissance Dam, which has caused a crisis between Addis Ababa on the one hand, and Cairo and Khartoum on the other, said Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

“It is a dam of ruin for two Arab countries (Egypt and Sudan),” he said, adding that the “tragic situation” facing the Arab world in recent times has given Turkey, Iran, Israel and Ethiopia an opportunity to interfere in the region’s affairs.

Aboul Gheit said his priority at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly is to focus on the Palestinian issue again, to which he “will demand a political solution.”


Israeli court hears custody fight over cable car survivor, 6

Israeli court hears custody fight over cable car survivor, 6
Updated 23 September 2021

Israeli court hears custody fight over cable car survivor, 6

Israeli court hears custody fight over cable car survivor, 6
  • Eitan Biran’s relatives on both sides attended the session in Tel Aviv
  • Eitan’s immediate family was among 14 people killed when the cable car carrying them crashed into a mountainside in May

JERUSALEM: The bitter custody battle over a 6-year-old boy who survived a cable car crash in Italy inched forward in Israel on Monday with a hearing in family court.
Eitan Biran’s relatives on both sides attended the session in Tel Aviv, in a legal fight that spans both countries where his remaining relatives reside. Eitan’s immediate family was among 14 people killed when the cable car carrying them crashed into a mountainside in May. The child’s survival sparked an immediate international dispute between his maternal and paternal families.
Members of both families met in family court in Tel Aviv on Monday, a next step in the dispute. Those present included Eitan’s aunt Aya Biran, who lives in Italy and has filed a formal request with the Italian court system seeking Eitan’s return to Italy. Also attending Monday’s hearing was the child’s grandfather, Shmulik Peleg, who spirited the boy away to Israel.
Eitan’s relatives in Italy say he was taken without their knowledge and are seeking his return. The child’s relatives in Israel have denied to local media that they abducted Eitan and insist they are acting in his interest.
Peleg has acknowledged driving the child from Italy into Switzerland before flying him back to Israel, telling Channel 12 that “we departed in a totally legal way.”
Peleg was questioned by Israeli police on kidnapping suspicions and placed under house arrest pending an ongoing investigation.
Italian authorities also have opened an investigation. Peleg told Israel’s Channel 12 that he had given up on contesting custody in the Italian court system and said he expected the boy to understand once he got older.
“I believe that one day Eitan will grow up and say grandfather, you did everything for me, you saved me,” he said, breaking into tears. “And my daughter, who one day will meet me in heaven, will be proud of me that I saved her son.”


Houthis must be re-designated a terrorist organization: senior Yemeni official

Houthis must be re-designated a terrorist organization: senior Yemeni official
Updated 23 September 2021

Houthis must be re-designated a terrorist organization: senior Yemeni official

Houthis must be re-designated a terrorist organization: senior Yemeni official
  • The US State Department early this year lifted a terrorist designation against the Houthis

DUBAI: The Houthi militia must be re-designated as a terrorist organization to curb its violence-driven ambitions in Yemen and force it to talk peace in the war-torn country, a senior Yemeni official said.

The brief designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organization during former US President Donald Trump’s tenure was a positive step, Muammar Al-Eryani, the minister of information, was quoted by state news agency SABA as saying.

And he added that during the designation period, the Houthi’s efforts declined and its various military operations stopped.

In a virtual meeting with Peter Derrek Hof, the Dutch ambassador to Yemen, Al-Eryani called on the international community and the European Union to take serious steps to re-designate the Iran-backed group as a terrorist organization.

The US State Department earlier this year lifted the terrorist designation against the Houthis that the Trump administration issued during its final days on the grounds that it would cause more suffering to millions of Yemenis than the militia force.

Al-Eryani emphasized that the Yemeni government made concessions to various peace efforts to ‘reach peace and in order to end the war imposed by the Iran-backed Houthi militia.’

Meanwhile, foreign affairs minister Ahmad Awadh bin Mubarak and his Irish counterpart Simon Coveney met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly’s meetings to discuss latest developments in Yemen.

The two discussed the Houthi militia’s military escalation in Marib and targeting populated areas, Iran’s role in destabilizing Yemen and the region, as well as how the UN Security Council could help achieve lasting peace in the country.


Sudan’s military strikes out at civilian politicians after coup attempt

Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Burhan Abdelrahman
Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Burhan Abdelrahman
Updated 23 September 2021

Sudan’s military strikes out at civilian politicians after coup attempt

Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Burhan Abdelrahman
  • Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan said the military was the group most interested in the transition to democracy and elections, scheduled for early 2024

KHARTOUM: Sudanese military leaders said on Wednesday the civilian politicians they share power with had opened the door to a coup attempt by neglecting public welfare while they were consumed by internal squabbles.
A body known as the Sovereign Council has ruled Sudan under a fragile power-sharing deal between the military and civilians since the overthrow of Omar Bashir in 2019 but their relationship has remained fractious since then.
Military authorities said on Monday they had detained 21 officers who had attempted to take power in the early hours of the day. The threat appeared to have escalated the tensions between the partners.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia condemned the coup attempt Al-Arabiya TV reported on Wednesday, citing the country’s Foreign Ministry.
Egypt also condemned the coup attempt and stressed its support for its neighbor’s transitional government.
In a statement on its official Facebook page, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry affirmed its support for efforts by Sudan’s government to meet the aspirations of its people at this important stage in the country’s history.
Cairo stressed its keenness to see stability and security in Sudan, and condemned any attempt to obstruct development efforts there.
Speaking at a military graduation in Omdurman, Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, head of the Sovereign Council, and his deputy General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, accused the civilian politicians of seeking personal gains and forgetting the aims of the revolution.
“The politicians gave an opportunity for the coup because they neglected the citizen and his livelihood and basic services and were occupied with fighting over seats and divvying up positions,” Dagalo said, in unusually strong criticism of the civilian team.
After the coup attempt, civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok reiterated calls to restructure the military and bring its business interests under civilian oversight, a key source of dispute, in a speech that did not emphasize military-civilian unity as he has done previously.
Political parties called on citizens to reject military rule and protect the revolution. Burhan called such statements “unacceptable.”
“Who should they rise to protect the revolution against? From us, the military? We are the ones who are protecting it from them, the ones who want to steal it.”
Burhan said the military was the group most interested in the transition to democracy and elections, scheduled for early 2024.
“They are occupied with fighting and yelling and are directing all their arrows at us,” he said.
Both men said they felt their forces were unappreciated.
“The military is met with humiliation and insults day and night, so how can there not be coups,” said Dagalo.