Arab coalition warplanes hit Houthi military sites in southern Yemen

The city of Taiz has been the scene of the fiercest battles between the Yemeni government troops and the Houthis since early 2015. (Reuters/File Photo)
The city of Taiz has been the scene of the fiercest battles between the Yemeni government troops and the Houthis since early 2015. (Reuters/File Photo)
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Updated 09 September 2021

Arab coalition warplanes hit Houthi military sites in southern Yemen

The city of Taiz has been the scene of the fiercest battles between the Yemeni government troops and the Houthis since early 2015. (Reuters/File Photo)
  • Videos on social media show balls of fire and smoke billowing from the targeted locations in Taiz
  • The city of Taiz has been the scene of the fiercest battles between the Yemeni government troops and the Houthis since early 2015

AL-MUKALLA: Arab coalition warplanes on Wednesday targeted several military locations belonging to the Iran-backed Houthis in the southern Yemeni city of Taiz, residents and government officials said.

Large explosions rocked the densely populated city of Taiz from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. on Wednesday after missiles fired by the coalition’s warplanes struck the city’s airport, an air defense military base, missile and ammunition silos and other locations controlled by the Houthis on the eastern edges of the city.

Videos on social media show balls of fire and smoke billowing from the targeted locations.

“Based on initial intelligence reports from the ground, the precise airstrikes destroyed large ammunition and missile stores, artillery emplacements, rocket launchers and a command and control room for the Houthis,” Col. Abdul Basit Al-Baher, a Yemen army officer in Taiz, told Arab News by telephone.

He added that the airstrikes on Houthi-controlled military locations in Taiz were the largest in years.

The infrequent airstrikes by the coalition’s warplanes in Taiz over the past couple of years have allowed the Houthis to turn areas under their control in Taiz into launch pads for ballistic missiles and explosive-laden drones that targeted Saudi Arabia and government-controlled areas in Yemen, Al-Baher said.

In March 2021, the UN experts found out that some of the missiles that targeted Aden airport on Dec. 30, 2020, shortly after the formation of the new government, were fired by the Houthis from Taiz airport, one of the targets of Wednesday’s airstrikes.

Officials believe that explosive–rigged drones and missiles that killed dozens of Yemeni soldiers at Al-Anad base in Lahj last month were also fired from Houthi-controlled military sites in Taiz.

Al-Baher said the latest round of air raids would impede the Houthis’ ability to launch more deadly strikes from Taiz.

The city of Taiz has been the scene of the fiercest battles between the Yemeni government troops and the Houthis since early 2015.

From their locations on the edges of the city, the Houthis have laid a siege to the city and shelled the centre to weaken the government forces defending the city.

Dozens of combatants have been killed in fierce clashes on several fronts outside the central city of Marib, local military officials said on Wednesday.

Fighting broke out in Al-Mashjah, Al-Kasara, Serwah and Rahabah after the Houthis attacked government troops in another desperate attempt to break through the defenses.

Rashad Al-Mekhlafi, a military official at Yemen’s Armed Forces Guidance Department, said that battles are becoming more aggressive as the Houthis have intensified attacks on government forces despite suffering heavy losses.

He said that the Yemeni army troops and allied tribesmen, backed by the coalition’s air support, managed to repulse Houthi attacks.

“The Houthis are determined to win the battle for Marib before the new UN envoy to Yemen puts forward his plan for ending the war,” Al-Mekhlafi said.

The Houthis, he said, have dispatched their elite military figures, who have been trained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards during the past two decades, to Marib to make a military breakthrough that could enable them to seize control of the city, the last government bastion in the north.

The UN Yemen envoy Hans Grundberg, who took charge on Sunday, began meeting diplomats and officials ahead of his first briefing to the UN Security Council on Friday.

“We discussed opportunities to move the Yemeni #peace process forward and the need for a more inclusive approach. Norway stands ready to support the new special envoy,” Mona Juul, Norway’s ambassador and permanent representative at the UN, said on Twitter on Wednesday after meeting the new envoy.


UAE sends three planes of medical aid to Afghanistan

UAE sends three planes of medical aid to Afghanistan
Updated 58 min 3 sec ago

UAE sends three planes of medical aid to Afghanistan

UAE sends three planes of medical aid to Afghanistan
  • The dispatched field hospital includes 75 beds and two operating rooms

The UAE has sent three planes of medical supplies, including a 1,000 square-meter-field hospital, to aid the injured of Afghanistan's earthquake that killed over 1,000 people and wounded scores more, Emirates new agency (WAM) reported on Saturday.
The dispatched hospital includes 75 beds and two operating rooms equipped with medical supplies and devices, the WAM statement read.
The planes also carried 16 metric tonnes of equipment and a medical team to operate the hospital and provide urgent medical services.
The UAE earlier established an air bridge to transport aid in the wake of the disaster.
The relief efforts come as Afghan authorities reported a shortage of food, shelter and medical supplies for the victims of the country’s deadliest earthquake in decades.

Last week, the country dispatched a plane carrying 30 tons of urgent food supplies to Afghanistan as aid continued to pour in from different parts of the world.


Egypt seeks to attract more Italian tourists

Egypt seeks to attract more Italian tourists
Updated 02 July 2022

Egypt seeks to attract more Italian tourists

Egypt seeks to attract more Italian tourists
  • Minister holds talks with tourism chief during visit to Rome

CAIRO: Khaled El-Anany, Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, has held talks with Ivana Jelinic, president of the Federation of Italian Tourism Companies, as part of efforts to attract more Italian tourists to Egypt.

The meeting was held at the Egyptian Embassy in Rome during El-Anany’s visit to the Italian capital.

Egypt’s plans to attract more tourists from various markets, including Italy, were reviewed at the meeting, which also discussed organizing a number of introductory visits for leading Italian tour operators and media representatives.

These visits will include Sharm El-Sheikh and other tourist cities in South Sinai in preparation for the coming winter season.

Joint advertising campaigns in Italy were also discussed, amid a growing interest among Italians in Egyptian cities and tourist destinations.

 


Shiite cleric shot, wounded in central Iran

Shiite cleric shot, wounded in central Iran
Updated 02 July 2022

Shiite cleric shot, wounded in central Iran

Shiite cleric shot, wounded in central Iran
  • Mohsen Akhavan was targeted in the city of Isfahan
  • He was returning home after leading the morning prayer when the attack occurred

TEHRAN: A Shiite cleric in central Iran was injured on Saturday morning after an assailant on a motorcycle shot at him, Iranian state media said.
Mohsen Akhavan, who holds the clerical rank of hojatoleslam, was targeted in the city of Isfahan, according to the website of state broadcaster IRIB.
Akhavan, who was the imam of a mosque in the city, was returning home after leading the morning prayer when the attack occurred, IRIB reported.
The report added that the cleric, who had earlier been working at the Isfahan Islamic seminary, was “not seriously injured” and was being treated in hospital.
In early April, a Sunni extremist of Uzbek origin stabbed two Shiite clerics to death and injured a third in the courtyard of the main shrine of the northeastern holy city of Mashhad.
Abdolatif Moradi, 21, was hanged on June 20 in the same city after being convicted over the attack, according to the judicial authority.
Moradi “was accused of moharebeh (’war against God’, in Persian) using a weapon to terrorize the population in the shrine and even outside it,” judicial authorities said.
The attack in Mashhad came days after two Sunni clerics were shot dead outside a seminary in the northern Iranian town of Gonbad-e Kavus.
The three suspects in that case, also Sunnis, were arrested in late April but were said to have “no connection with terrorist groups,” state media reported at the time.


Iranian-flagged tanker in Greece tugged to Piraeus port

Iranian-flagged tanker in Greece tugged to Piraeus port
Updated 02 July 2022

Iranian-flagged tanker in Greece tugged to Piraeus port

Iranian-flagged tanker in Greece tugged to Piraeus port
  • For over two months Iranian-flagged Lana has been anchored off the Greek island of Evia

ATHENS: An Iranian-flagged tanker seized by Greece in April, part of whose cargo was confiscated by the United States, was being towed to the port of Piraeus on Saturday, Greek coast guard officials said, after Greek authorities approved its release.
For over two months the Iranian-flagged Lana, formerly Pegas, has been anchored off the Greek island of Evia in a diplomatic impasse which has strained Athens’ relations with Tehran amid growing tensions between Iran and the United States.
“It left Karystos at 0630 am (0330 GMT) and is expected to reach Piraeus around 1000 pm,” one official said.
Greek authorities in April impounded Lana and its oil cargo with 19 Russian crew members on board near the coast of Evia, due to sanctions following a legal action by the United States.
The ship was later released due to complications regarding its ownership, but part of the Iranian oil cargo had already been transferred to another ship, Ice Energy, which was hired by the United States and is moored off Piraeus port.
The removal of oil from the Lana prompted Iranian forces last month to seize two Greek tankers in the Arabian Gulf and sail them back to Iran after Tehran warned it would take “punitive action” against Athens.
Following an appeal by an Iranian company on June 7, a Greek judicial panel overturned the initial court order that allowed the confiscation of the cargo on behalf of the United States.
That decision has cleared the way for Lana to retrieve the cargo that was transferred to Ice Energy.
Until last week however Lana, which still has engine problems, was being detained by another company due to debts owed for towing services. It was officially released after the amount owed was paid off, legal sources told Reuters.


Israeli strike on Syria wounds two civilians: ministry

Israeli strike on Syria wounds two civilians: ministry
Updated 02 July 2022

Israeli strike on Syria wounds two civilians: ministry

Israeli strike on Syria wounds two civilians: ministry
  • Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in Syria since the 2011 civil war
  • Last month Israeli strikes on Damascus International Airport rendered its runways unusable for weeks

An Israeli strike on Syria’s western coast wounded two civilians on Saturday, the Syrian defense ministry said.
“The Israeli enemy carried out an air strike” at about 6:30 am near the town of Al-Hamidiyah, the ministry said in a statement, identifying the locations hit as poultry farms, without elaborating.
The strike was conducted from the Mediterranean Sea, west of Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli, and “led to the injury of two civilians, including a woman,” the statement said.
Since the civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes against its northern neighbor.
The raids have targeted Syrian government troops as well as allied Iran-backed forces and fighters from the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah.
Last month Israeli strikes on Damascus International Airport rendered its runways unusable for weeks.
Besides the extensive damage caused to civilian and military runways, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said the strikes had targeted nearby warehouses used as weapons depots by Iran and Hezbollah.
The Syrian war has claimed the lives of nearly half a million people and forced around half of the country’s pre-war population from their homes.