100 Houthis killed in heavy fighting around Yemen’s Marib city

Yemeni fighters drive their armored vehicle on the Mass front line after clashes with Houthi rebels in Marib, Yemen. (AP file photo)
Yemeni fighters drive their armored vehicle on the Mass front line after clashes with Houthi rebels in Marib, Yemen. (AP file photo)
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Updated 27 December 2021

100 Houthis killed in heavy fighting around Yemen’s Marib city

Yemeni fighters drive their armored vehicle on the Mass front line after clashes with Houthi rebels in Marib, Yemen. (AP file photo)
  • Government demands Lebanon contain Iran-backed Hezbollah amid influx of fighters, weapons

AL-MUKALLA: At least 100 Houthis were killed in heavy fighting with government forces outside Yemen’s central city of Marib in the past day as the Iran-backed rebels pressed ahead with assaults to recapture the strategic city, local officials and media reports said on Monday.

Backed by massive air support from Arab coalition warplanes, Yemeni government troops and tribal fighters on Sunday mounted counterattacks on Houthi positions south of Marib in a bid to push back the militia from strategic locations outside the city and seize control of new areas.

Fierce fighting raged between the two sides from Sunday to Monday near Al-Balaq Al-Sharqi mountain range and surrounding areas, claiming the lives of at least 100 Houthi fighters, including a field military leader.

“The national army seized control of three strategic hilly locations near Al-Balaq Al-Sharqi and cut off supply lines to pockets of Houthis,” a military official told Arab News by telephone, shortly after he returned from the raging battlefields in Marib.

“What I can say is that we managed to count the bodies of at least 100 Houthis killed during the last 24 hours.”

To pave the way for their forces to advance, the Houthis fired about 25 ballistic missiles at government-controlled areas and intensified drone and mortar attacks outside Marib.

“The Houthis hysterically shelled our forces with 25 ballistic missiles. The coalition’s warplanes intercepted and destroyed two of the missiles in the air,” the official said.

The shelling did not help the Houthis make new gains on the ground as government troops held strong in their positions and killed waves of Houthi fighters.

West of Marib, eight Houthis, including a field leader, were arrested, and many other militia members were killed when government troops repelled attacks.

Local army officials said that warplanes from the Arab coalition on Monday conducted dozens of air sorties in support of government troops on the ground by targeting Houthi military reinforcements and locations outside Marib city.

In February, the Houthis renewed a military offensive to recapture the oil and gas-rich city of Marib, the government’s last stronghold in the northern part of the country.

In the neighboring province of Shabwa, hundreds of troops from the Giants Brigades were deployed in the oil-rich province ahead of an expected offensive to dislodge the Houthis from the Bayhan, Al-Aid and Ouselan districts and to alleviate military pressure on government troops in Marib province.

A long convoy of military vehicles carrying fighters and military equipment were seen departing positions along the country's west coast and heading toward Attaq city, Shabwa’s provincial capital.

In November, the Arab coalition announced the redeployment troops in Hodeidah province as part of a new strategy to reinforce government troops battling the Houthis.

In Riyadh, Yemen President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi ordered the new governor of Shabwa, Awadh Mohammed Al-Wazer Al-Awlaki, who took the constitutional oath before the president on Monday, to work on unifying political and tribal forces and mobilizing efforts to expel the Houthis from areas in the province.

Separately, Yemen’s government on Monday demanded the Lebanese government contain the military activities of Iran-backed Hezbollah in the war-torn country amid an influx of fighters, military experts and weapons from Lebanon.

“We ask about the position of the presidency, the government, political forces, elites and the brotherly Lebanese people regarding the aggression led by the Hezbollah militia against Yemen,” Muammar Al-Eryani, Yemen’s minister of information, culture and tourism, said on Twitter.

“We renew the call to the brothers in Lebanon to declare a clear position on the aggression of the Hezbollah militia, to exert real pressure to withdraw its experts and fighters, stop the smuggling of weapons to Yemen, and to prevent the use of the lands and capabilities of the Lebanese state to support the Houthi militia.”

The Yemeni government’s criticism of Hezbollah activities in Yemen came a day after the Arab coalition revealed to reporters a video showing Hezbollah experts training Houthi fighters in the use of explosive-rigged drones.

 


Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in major Cabinet reshuffle

Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in major Cabinet reshuffle
Updated 13 August 2022

Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in major Cabinet reshuffle

Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in major Cabinet reshuffle
  • The Cabinet shake-up was approved by parliament in an emergency session and affected 13 portfolios, including health, education, culture, local development and irrigation ministries
  • President El-Sisi said the shake-up came in consultation with Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly

CAIRO : An emergency session of parliament on Saturday approved several cabinet changes in Egypt’s first major reshuffle since 2019, with 13 ministers moved, the National Media Authority reported.
A statement said the House of Representatives had approved “all the nominations set forth in a letter from President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi regarding a ministerial reshuffle.”
El-Sisi’s official Facebook page said the president had urged parliament to discuss the changes in the more than 30-strong cabinet, which were agreed following consultations with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli.
The president said in a Facebook post that the changes aimed at “developing the governmental performance in some important files ... which contribute to protecting the state’s interests and capabilities.”
There has been only one reshuffle since Madbouli took office in 2018, in December 2019.
Following parliamentary approval, the new ministers are now expected to be sworn in.
The reshuffle does not include the key defense, interior, finance or foreign ministries.
But it does appoint new ministers of health, tourism and antiquities, commerce and industry, irrigation, civil aviation, immigration, education, higher education, military production, manpower, public business sector, culture and local development.
Banker Ahmed Issa took over the Tourism and Antiquities Ministry, replacing Khaled Al-Anani who led Egypt’s efforts in recent years to revive the tourism industry, a pillar of the economy. Such efforts included displaying ancient discoveries, opening new museums to attract international tourists.
Hani Sweilam, professor of water resources management at Germany’s RWTH Aachen University, was named as Irrigation Minister. He replaced Mohammed Abdel-Aty who oversaw years of technical negations with Ethiopia over its controversial dam on the Nile River’s main tributary.
The decision to replace outgoing irrigation minister Aty comes just a day after Addis Ababa announced it had finished its third filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
The Ethiopian water project damming the Nile is proceeding without agreement from downstream countries Egypt and Sudan.
The new irrigation minister is Hani Sewilam, a professor of sustainable development and water resources management at the American University in Cairo.
He assumes the post amid increasing fears over water security and an impending water crisis.
Other notable swaps include tourism and antiquities. Khaled Anani is credited with several high-profile attempts to revive Egypt’s vital tourism industry, and he is succeeded by Ahmed Issa Abu Hussein.
The health portfolio has been filled by Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, the acting minister since October.
Abdel Ghaffar’s former post of higher education minister will be filled by his deputy, Ayman Ashour.
Another notable appointment is Egyptian Air Force chief Mohamed Abbas Helmy, who takes on the civil aviation portfolio.
The government has held talks in recent months with the International Monetary Fund for a new loan to support its reform program and to help address challenges caused by the war in Europe. The government has received pledges from wealthy Arab Gulf nations for billions of dollars in investments, some of which are for private industry.
(With AFP and AP)


15 migrants found dead on border with Sudan, say Libya officials

15 migrants found dead on border with Sudan, say Libya officials
Updated 13 August 2022

15 migrants found dead on border with Sudan, say Libya officials

15 migrants found dead on border with Sudan, say Libya officials
  • The agency said nine other migrants survived while two remain missing in the desert

CAIRO: Libyan authorities said Saturday they found at least 15 migrants dead in the desert on the borders with Sudan, the latest tragedy involving migrants seeking a better life in Europe via perilous journeys through the conflict-wrecked nation.
The Department for Combating Irregular Migration in the southeastern city of Kufra said the migrants were on their way from Sudan to Libya when their vehicle broke down due to lack of fuel.
The agency said nine other migrants survived while two remain missing in the desert. There were women and children among the migrants, but the agency did not elaborate on how many. It also did not reveal causes of the migrants’ death, but said they did not have enough food and water.
It said the migrants were all Sudanese — from a country in turmoil for years. The migrants likely attempted to reach western Libya in efforts to board trafficking boats to Europe.
The agency posted images on Facebook showing bodies purportedly of the dead migrants who were later burned in the desert.
The tragedy was the latest in Libya’s sprawling desert. In June, authorities in Kufra said they found the bodies of 20 migrants who they said died of thirst in the desert after their vehicle broke down close to the border with Chad.
Libya has in recent years emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East. The oil-rich country plunged into chaos following a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime autocrat Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
Human traffickers in recent years have benefited from the chaos in Libya, smuggling in migrants across the country’s lengthy borders with six nations. The migrants are then packed into ill-equipped rubber boats and set off on risky sea voyages.


Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in Cabinet reshuffle

Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in Cabinet reshuffle
Updated 13 August 2022

Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in Cabinet reshuffle

Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in Cabinet reshuffle
  • Secretary-General of the House of Representatives Ahmed Manaa invited Parliament’s 596 MPs to attend the meeting without disclosing further information

CAIRO: President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt announced a Cabinet reshuffle Saturday to improve his administration's performance as it faces towering economic challenges stemming largely from Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The Cabinet shake-up, which was approved by parliament in an emergency session, affected 13 portfolios, including health, education, culture, local development and irrigation ministries.
Also included in the reshuffle was the tourism portfolio, a key job at a time when Egypt is struggling to revive the lucrative sector decimated by years of turmoil, the pandemic and most recently the war in Europe.
The changes, however, didn’t affect key ministries including foreign, finance, defense and the interior, which is responsible for the police force.
El-Sisi said the shake-up came in consultation with Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly. He said in a Facebook post that the changes aimed at “developing the governmental performance in some important files ... which contribute to protecting the state’s interests and capabilities.”
The new ministers are expected to be sworn in before el-Sissi later Saturday or early Sunday.
Egypt’s economy has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing war in Ukraine, which rattled global markets and hiked oil and food prices across the world.


Vehicle accident in southern Egypt kills 9, injures 18

Vehicle accident in southern Egypt kills 9, injures 18
Updated 13 August 2022

Vehicle accident in southern Egypt kills 9, injures 18

Vehicle accident in southern Egypt kills 9, injures 18

CAIRO: A vehicle accident involving an overturned microbus in southern Egypt killed at least nine people and injured eight, authorities said Saturday.
The crash took place Friday when the passenger vehicle overturned following a tire blowout on a highway in Minya province 273 kilometers (170 miles) south of the capital Cairo, provincial authorities said in a statement.
The microbus, a sort of mass transit minivan, was transporting people from Sohag province to Cairo, the statement said.
Ambulances rushed to the site and moved the injured to hospitals in Minya, the statement added.
Deadly traffic accidents claim thousands of lives every year in Egypt, which has a poor transportation safety record. The crashes and collisions are mostly caused by speeding, bad roads or poor enforcement of traffic laws.
Earlier this month, a microbus collided with a truck in Sohag, killing at least 17 people and injuring four others. In July, a passenger bus slammed into a parked trailer truck in Minya, leaving 23 dead and a least 30 wounded.


UAE FM, Ukrainian counterpart discuss relations

UAE FM, Ukrainian counterpart discuss relations
Updated 13 August 2022

UAE FM, Ukrainian counterpart discuss relations

UAE FM, Ukrainian counterpart discuss relations

DUBAI: The UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, discussed on Friday with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, bilateral relations between their countries, the prospects for cooperation and ways to enhance them.

Both officials also reviewed the latest developments in the Ukraine, in addition to a number of regional and international issues of common interest, UAE state news agency WAM reported. 

During the phone call, Sheikh Abdullah praised the United Nations-backed agreement recently signed in Istanbul between Ukraine, Russia and Turkey, which provides for the safe export of grain through the Black Sea to global markets.

He reiterated the UAE's commitment to support all efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine and reach a political settlement of the crisis.