Yemeni army commander killed in fighting outside Marib

Gen. Nasser Al-Thaybani, who was killed in fighting outside Marib. (Supplied)
Gen. Nasser Al-Thaybani, who was killed in fighting outside Marib. (Supplied)
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Updated 13 December 2021

Yemeni army commander killed in fighting outside Marib

Gen. Nasser Al-Thaybani, who was killed in fighting outside Marib. (Supplied)
  • UN Security Council to be briefed on Tuesday

AL-MUKALLA: A Yemeni army commander was among at least 100 combatants killed in the past 24 hours outside the central city of Marib, as Arab coalition warplanes intensified air raids on Houthi targets, officials said.

Gen. Nasser Al-Thaybani died while commanding government troops who were fighting off Houthi incursions into the strategic Al-Balaq mountain range that overlooks part of the city.

“The hero Gen. Nasser Al-Thaybani was martyred early on Monday after a bullet from a Houthi sniper hit his head,” Rashad Al-Mekhlafi, a military official at Yemen’s Armed Forces Guidance Department, told Arab News.

He said the commander was leading forces that pushed the Houthis back from the eastern parts of the mountain.

At least 100 Houthis were killed in Marib province after troops mounted a counteroffensive on the militia, who made a rare incursion into Al-Balaq after heavily shelling loyalist locations at the weekend.

Troops expelled the Houthis from Al-Balaq and were currently battling them in desert areas south of Marib, Al-Mekhlafi said. He added that the Houthi had mobilized elite forces to seize control of Al-Balaq.

“The Houthi seizure of even a small part of Al-Balaq would pose a serious threat to Marib.”

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FRANKLY SPEAKING: Saudi ambassador to UN urges more efforts to expose Houthis’ terror role. Click here to watch the interview.

The militia began attacking Marib city in February in a bid to fully control the northern half of Yemen, including the city’s oil and gas fields and a major power station.

Despite losing thousands of fighters in battle or through coalition airstrikes, the Houthis have stepped up their ground, missile and drone attacks on the city.

Yemeni commanders said the Houthis were applying a human wave attack, a military tactic in which hundreds of their fighters assault troops who are defending the city.

The escalation of fighting in Marib came as UN Yemen envoy Hans Grundberg on Monday announced his visit to Muscat, where he discussed UN-brokered peace efforts to end the war with Omani officials and Houthi chief negotiator Mohammed Abdul Sallam.

“He discussed ways to de-escalate the violence in #Yemen & begin a political dialogue aimed at reaching a comprehensive &inclusive settlement,” the envoy’s office tweeted.

Grundberg is expected to brief the UN Security Council on Tuesday on the outcomes of his meetings with the main Yemeni stakeholders inside and outside the country and regional and international officials.


Egypt FM attending freedom of religion conference in London

Egypt FM attending freedom of religion conference in London
Updated 13 sec ago

Egypt FM attending freedom of religion conference in London

Egypt FM attending freedom of religion conference in London
  • Societies that allow their people to choose what they believe are better, stronger and ultimately more successful

CAIRO: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is attending the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief in London.

The event, which is being held on July 5-6, is hosting 500 religious, government and civil society leaders from 60 countries to call for more action to protect freedom of religion or belief around the world.

In the opening speech of the conference, the UK’s Prince Charles said in a recorded message: “Freedom of conscience, of thought and of belief is central to any truly flourishing society. It allows people to contribute to their communities without fear of exclusion, to exchange ideas without fear of prejudice, and to build relationships without fear of rejection. A society where difference is respected, where it is accepted that all need not think alike, will benefit from the talents of all of its members.”

Speaking at the conference at the Queen Elizabeth II Center in London, UK Foreign Minister Liz Truss said: “The freedom to believe, to pray and commit acts of worship, or indeed not to believe is a fundamental human freedom and has been one since the dawn of time. Societies that allow their people to choose what they believe are better, stronger and ultimately more successful. This fundamental right is covered in the very first clause of Magna Carta and Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is one of the Four Freedoms Franklin D. Roosevelt said were ‘essential everywhere in the world.’”

Yesterday, the Egyptian minister, at the start of his London visit, met UK Minister of State for North Africa, South and Central Asia, the Commonwealth and the UN Lord Tariq Ahmed. The two discussed the conference, Egypt’s preparations for hosting and chairing COP27 in November, and the importance of continuing coordination between Egypt and the UK.


6 dead as twin bomb blasts destroy Yemen arms depot

6 dead as twin bomb blasts destroy Yemen arms depot
Updated 4 min 27 sec ago

6 dead as twin bomb blasts destroy Yemen arms depot

6 dead as twin bomb blasts destroy Yemen arms depot
  • Distraught residents search for missing relatives
  • Al-Qaeda known to be active in area

AL-MUKALLA: At least six people were killed and more than 30 injured on Tuesday when two massive explosions destroyed an arms warehouse in the southern Yemen province of Abyan.

The first blast happened in the morning inside a busy popular market near the weapons depot in Lawder, a large town in the province. As dozens of people milled around after the explosion, a second blast detonated in the two-story building containing the arms depot.

Officials said they could not give a precise number of casualties as the dead and injured were still arriving at Al-Shaheed Mahnef hospital in Lawder. Residents rushed to the hospital to searching for missing relatives and friends, and medical staff called for blood donations. The poorly equipped and understaffed hospital was forced to refer critical cases to larger hospitals in Abyan and Aden.

Authorities launched an investigation into the explosions, but Al-Qaeda are known to be active in the area and twin explosions a short time apart are a terrorist tactic to increase the number of casualties.

Abyan is a contested province between the internationally recognized government and separatists loyal to the Southern Transitional Council. It was the site of fierce battles in 2019 and 2020 that claimed the lives of many soldiers and Houthi terrorist militia fighters.

The Yemeni branch of Al-Qaeda exploited the anarchy in the province to make a comeback.

Suspected Al-Qaeda militants in the province are still holding five UN workers who were abducted in February while returning to neighboring Aden after finishing a field mission.

Local officials and tribal mediators have failed to convince the abductors to release the workers. The kidnappers insist on swapping them with allied prisoners in Aden and demand a ransom of thousands of dollars.

Elsewhere in Yemen, EU envoys have asked the Iran-backed Houthi militia to de-escalate and implement the elements of the UN-brokered truce, mainly lifting their siege on the city of Taiz.

The ambassadors of France and Germany and the Swedish special envoy to Yemen called Hussein Al-Azi, a Houthi leader, to ask him to accept the UN proposal on opening roads in Taiz and work on achieving peace after he threatened to resume military operations in the central province of Marib.

The ambassadors asked the Houthi leader to constructively engage with the UN Yemen envoy’s proposal and create “positive public rhetoric.”

It was “time to continue delivering on the expectations of Yemenis, who want and need peace,” the EU mission in Yemen said. 


Investor in court for practicing unlicensed cosmetic medicine in Dubai

Investor in court for practicing unlicensed cosmetic medicine in Dubai
Updated 05 July 2022

Investor in court for practicing unlicensed cosmetic medicine in Dubai

Investor in court for practicing unlicensed cosmetic medicine in Dubai
  • Suspect arrested during sting operation before applying a Botox injection for $1,275
  • If found guilty, the unlicensed doctor could face three years in jail, lawyer tells Arab News

DUBAI: An investor in a medical consultation company could face up to three years in jail, and/or a fine up to $542,700, if found guilty of practicing unlicensed medicine in Dubai.
Prosecutors referred the unidentified investor to the Dubai Misdemeanours Court for practicing medicine without obtaining a proper license after he was found to be injecting patients with cosmetic Botox and fillers.
Haifa Al-Marzouqi, assistant chief prosecutor at the Dubai Public Prosecution, said in a statement on Tuesday that the Dubai Healthcare Authority received a tip from an informant about a person practicing cosmetic medicine and applying fillers and Botox on patients at their homes.
“In collaboration with the DHA’s inspection department, someone posed as a potential patient and contacted the suspect to apply on her cosmetic injections. As part of a sting operation, the suspect was apprehended in a flat that was rented for that purpose,” said Al-Marzouqi.
Primary interrogations unveiled that the suspect is an investor in a medical consultation company and not a licensed doctor.
Lawyer Faisal Al-Zarouni told Arab News, that if found guilty, the suspect could be facing between one month and three years in jail, a fine varying between $54,270 and $542,700 or both punishments.
“According to the law … based on which prosecutors are requesting the court to try the suspect, it means the latter provided the health licensing authorities with false documents to obtain a license and practice medicine,” said Al-Zarouni.
Al-Marzouqi said the suspect came to the flat carrying a medium-sized handbag containing medical equipment and medical ointments.
After examining the informant’s face, he provided her with a medical consultation and advised that she needed a Botox injection in her forehead, and said he would charge her an amount of $1,275 for the procedure.
When asked how the public could prevent themselves against falling victim to unlicensed doctors, Al-Zarouni advised them to inquire about the doctor’s licenses listed on the DHA’s website.
Sources told Arab News a hearing will be scheduled next month.
 


President of UAE pardons 737 prisoners ahead of Eid Al-Adha

President of UAE pardons 737 prisoners ahead of Eid Al-Adha
Updated 05 July 2022

President of UAE pardons 737 prisoners ahead of Eid Al-Adha

President of UAE pardons 737 prisoners ahead of Eid Al-Adha
  • The presidential pardon comes within UAE's humanitarian initiatives based on forgiveness and tolerance

ABU DAHBI: President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has ordered the release of 737 prisoners in the UAE, ahead of Eid Al-Adha, Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.

The pardoned prisoners had received prison sentences for a variety of offenses and the President also pledged to settle the financial obligations of the released prisoners.

The pardon is part of the UAE's humanitarian initiatives based on the values of forgiveness and tolerance, allowing the released prisoners to begin a new chapter in their lives and positively contribute to society, WAM reported.

In November, the former president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan also ordered the release of 870 prisoners to commemorate the UAE's milestone 50th National Day.

This was followed by the release of 540 prisoners in March, ahead of Ramadan.

With Eid Al-Adha approaching, the President's annual pardon aims to strengthen family bonds by reuniting inmates with their mothers, wives, and children.


Israel expands permits for Palestinians on Eid Al-Adha

Israel expands permits for Palestinians on Eid Al-Adha
Updated 05 July 2022

Israel expands permits for Palestinians on Eid Al-Adha

Israel expands permits for Palestinians on Eid Al-Adha
  • The decision will allow 400 Palestinians to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque
  • Their trips will take them from Erez Crossing to Al-Aqsa on shuttle buses

 

GAZA CITY: For the first time in years, Israel has announced that it will provide temporary visitor permits to Gaza Strip residents during the Eid Al-Adha festival.

The decision will allow 400 Palestinians to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque, while 500 others will be permitted to visit first-degree relatives in the West Bank and Israel.

Ghassan Elyan, coordinator of Israeli government activities in the Palestinian Territories, announced on Facebook that 400 visitor permits to Jerusalem for men aged over 55 and women aged over 50 will be issued.

Their trips will take them from Erez Crossing to Al-Aqsa on shuttle buses. They will then return to Gaza on the same day.

The approval of the permits, Elyan said, came from Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz “after assessing the security situation.”

He also announced the provision of wider permissions to West Bank residents, including family visits to Israel without specifying the number of permits, 200 permits to visit the city of Eilat, as well as allowing 500 Palestinians to travel through Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.

Working hours at some crossings between the West Bank and Israel will be expanded. The crossing with Jordan will also be included in the expansion.

The move came as part of Israeli steps to quell tensions in the Gaza Strip and maintain peace in areas bordering Gaza, according to analysts.

Israel announced an increase in the quota of permits for Palestinians to work in the country from 10,000 to 12,000, despite rumors of an increase to 30,000 several months ago.

Mustafa Ibrahim, a Palestinian columnist, said that the move is an attempt to maintain calm and that the permits offered “do not change the reality of the Gaza Strip.”

Ibrahim told Arab News that without granting permits to at least 50,000 Palestinians to work in Israel, no change will occur in the Gaza Strip. “Israel forgets that the solution to the crisis in the Gaza Strip has to be political, not humanitarian,” he said.

The Palestinian Authority’s civil affairs department, which submits permit applications to Israel, announced that it was closing its permit line several hours after the Israeli decision due to a surge in applicants.

“Due to a huge number of citizens who have submitted requests to pray at Al-Aqsa and to visit relatives, and the limited number allowed by the Israeli side, we announce the closure of the counter to receive applications,” it said.

In previous years, Israel allowed elderly people residing in Gaza to visit Al-Aqsa, but the trips were halted due to what Israel described as a lack of security due to the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip.

Israel refuses to allow Palestinians residing in the Gaza Strip to visit their relatives in the West Bank, except in cases of marriage, death and sometimes visits to patients with first-degree relatives.

Israel laid a strict siege on Gaza since Hamas — which it considers a hostile entity — took control of the area in 2007. It only allows the humanitarian passage of patients and imposes severe restrictions on the import of goods.

Imad Khalil, 56, was among the early birds who submitted an application to pray at Al-Aqsa, hoping he could visit Islam’s third holiest site for the first time in about 25 years.

But Najat Muhammad was unable to submit her application to visit her family in the West Bank, because by the time her turn came, the counter to receive requests was closed. She has not seen her loved ones in eight years.

“Israel did not allow me to visit my mother and brothers in the city of Tulkarm. My father died eight years ago, and since then I have been trying to get a permit but to no avail, and now I have failed to apply for a permit again,” she told Arab News.