Yemen’s Taiz braced for new Houthi attacks

A Houthi fighter opens fire into the air from a machine gun mounted on a military truck as they parade during a gathering of Houthi loyalists in Sanaa, Yemen, July 8, 2020. (REUTERS)
A Houthi fighter opens fire into the air from a machine gun mounted on a military truck as they parade during a gathering of Houthi loyalists in Sanaa, Yemen, July 8, 2020. (REUTERS)
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Updated 04 July 2022

Yemen’s Taiz braced for new Houthi attacks

Yemen’s Taiz braced for new Houthi attacks
  • Militia responsible for stoking humanitarian crisis in Yemen, displacing thousands, recruiting, indoctrinating juveniles: Official tells US envoy

AL-MUKALLA: Military officials and residents in Yemen’s city of Taiz are bracing themselves for intensified attacks by the Iran-backed Houthis after the militia group mobilized new fighters, heavy artillery, and military vehicles outside the city.

Abdul Basit Al-Baher, a Yemeni military officer in Taiz, told Arab News on Monday that the Houthis had deployed extra forces and equipment on all fronts outside the strategic city and that intelligence reports suggested they were preparing to launch more aggressive attacks and shelling on the city and military locations controlled by government troops.

He said: “They have brought in big military reinforcements to Taiz, including fighters, military vehicles, armored personnel carriers, heavy machine guns, and sniper rifles with night vision sight.”

Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city, has been under a choking siege since early 2015 after the Houthis blocked its main entrances, barring people from leaving or entering the city and preventing vital humanitarian assistance from reaching thousands of needy inhabitants.

Under a UN-brokered truce that came into effect on April 2, the Houthis were supposed to partially ease the siege by opening a main road and several small secondary roads after the Yemeni government facilitated the departure of commercial flights from Sanaa airport and allowed fuel ships to enter Hodeidah ports.

UN-sponsored discussions on opening roads in Taiz reached a stalemate as the Houthis refused to cooperate and insisted on opening only small and unpaved roads leading into and out Taiz.

Al-Baher noted that seven civilians and 13 soldiers had been killed and at least 100 civilians wounded since April 2 as the Houthis broke the terms of the truce on 2,849 occasions through missile and drone attacks and the deployment of forces.

“Our information says that the militia is planning attacks during Eid days (next week),” he added.

On Monday morning, explosions rocked the western and northern outskirts of Taiz after Yemeni government troops pushed back a Houthi assault and responded to shelling on their positions in Madrat and near an air-defense military base.

During the early hours, the Houthis used tanks and artillery fire to bombard an air-defense base in northwest Taiz before sending in ground troops to seize control of new areas.

Al-Baher said that government troops fired back at the Houthi positions and forced the ground troops to retreat.

Separately, during a meeting in Riyadh on Sunday, Othman Mujalli, a member of the Presidential Leadership Council, told the US envoy to Yemen, Steven Fagin, that the Houthis had been responsible for stoking up the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, displacing thousands of Yemenis, and recruiting and indoctrinating the country’s juveniles.

And he signaled the use of military operations to defeat the Houthis if they did not cooperate with peace efforts to end the war.

“Defeating the Houthi militarily is possible. Today the international community wants peace, and we want peace, but the militias refused to open a road that has existed for 40 years in Taiz,” Mujalli said, according to the official news agency SABA.

 


Egypt church fire not deliberate: Probe

Egypt church fire not deliberate: Probe
Updated 24 sec ago

Egypt church fire not deliberate: Probe

Egypt church fire not deliberate: Probe
  • The public prosecution questioned 33 witnesses, including the 16 people injured

CAIRO: The fire that broke out in the Abu Sefein Church in Egypt on Sunday was not deliberate, according to an investigation by the public prosecution.
The cause of the fire, which killed 41 people, was a defect with an electric generator in the church after it was turned on due to a power outage.
The public prosecution questioned 33 witnesses, including the 16 people injured, who said they heard the sound of electric charges emanating from inside the church, and the fire broke out after that. Prosecutor General Hamada El-Sawy said the victims had died of smoke inhalation.


Coptic pope offers condolences over church fire

Coptic pope offers condolences over church fire
Updated 53 min 53 sec ago

Coptic pope offers condolences over church fire

Coptic pope offers condolences over church fire
  • Blaze in Egyptian city of Giza killed 41 people, injured 16
  • ‘We thank God for all those who contributed to containing this crisis’

CAIRO: The Egyptian people showed their genuine nature with regard to Sunday’s fire in Abu Sefein Church that killed 41 people and injured 16 in the city of Giza, said the pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Pope Tawadros II thanked everyone who contributed to containing the blaze, and offered condolences to the family of a priest who died.

“He was a beloved priest until his last breath, and we console the people of the church, both adults and children, knowing that they are with Christ, and that is very much better,” the pope said.

“We thank God for all those who contributed to containing this crisis, including the concerned agencies, officials, the people and neighbors.”

He said he is scheduled to meet in the next few days with the victims’ families, adding that Christian and Muslim communities in various countries have offered their condolences. The Interior Ministry said an electrical fault had caused the fire.


Russian ship carrying ‘plundered’ Ukraine grain reaches Syria: embassy

Russian ship carrying ‘plundered’ Ukraine grain reaches Syria: embassy
Updated 18 August 2022

Russian ship carrying ‘plundered’ Ukraine grain reaches Syria: embassy

Russian ship carrying ‘plundered’ Ukraine grain reaches Syria: embassy
  • "According to our information, SV KONSTANTIN has docked in Syria," the embassy said
  • It said the ship was carrying "grains that were plundered and illegally transported by the Russian occupation authorities"

BEIRUT: A Russian cargo ship allegedly carrying stolen Ukrainian grain has reached Syria, Kyiv’s embassy in Beirut said Thursday, the latest in a series of contested shipments arriving in the war-torn country.
“According to our information, SV KONSTANTIN has docked in Syria,” the embassy said in a statement to AFP.
It said the ship was carrying “grains that were plundered and illegally transported by the Russian occupation authorities,” adding that the vessel was initially destined for the Lebanese port of Tripoli.
Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russian forces of ransacking its grain warehouses since they invaded the country in late February.
The embassy’s statement came as another cargo ship carrying the first shipment of grain allowed to leave Ukraine under a UN-backed deal reportedly unloaded its cargo at the Syrian port of Tartus, which is managed by a Russian firm.
The Sierra Leone-flagged vessel Razoni was expected to arrive in Lebanon, but the shipment’s five-month delay prompted the Lebanese buyer to cancel the deal once the ship was already at sea, Ukrainian officials had said.
According to Samir Madani, co-founder of oil shipping monitoring website TankerTrackers.com, the vessel docked in Tartus earlier this week.
Satellite imagery appeared to show that the ship — which was carrying 26,000 tons of corn — was unloading its cargo, Madani tweeted on Thursday.
Earlier this month, a Syrian-flagged ship was briefly seized by Lebanese authorities following similar claims by the Ukrainian embassy that it was laden with stolen cargo.
Lebanon later released the Laodicea vessel after investigations failed to prove it carried stolen goods, drawing criticism from Kyiv’s embassy.
The Laodicea started unloading its cargo at Tartus on August 8, according to Syrian state media.
Syria is a staunch ally of Russia, which intervened in the country’s civil war in 2015 to support President Bashar Assad’s government.
Moscow has lent Damascus very limited amounts of financial aid, but it has supplied Syria with wheat as a form of assistance.
The Syrian government relies on Moscow for the bulk of its wheat imports.


Egyptian, Canadian ministers discuss cooperation

Egyptian, Canadian ministers discuss cooperation
Updated 18 August 2022

Egyptian, Canadian ministers discuss cooperation

Egyptian, Canadian ministers discuss cooperation
  • Sajjan said: “I was impressed by the Egyptian vision of empowering women.”

CAIRO: Nevin Al-Kabbaj, Egypt’s minister of social solidarity, met with Harjit Sajjan, Canada’s minister of international development, to discuss cooperation in various fields.
Al-Kabbaj reviewed her ministry’s programs and activities, including those focusing on the rights of women and the disabled.
Sajjan said: “I was impressed by the Egyptian vision of empowering women.”
Al-Kabbaj expressed her appreciation for the efforts of the Canadian Embassy and the Canadian Development Agency to support development in Egypt and her ministry’s economic-empowerment projects.


Egypt sends aid to flood-hit Sudan

Egypt sends aid to flood-hit Sudan
Updated 18 August 2022

Egypt sends aid to flood-hit Sudan

Egypt sends aid to flood-hit Sudan
  • Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed or damaged by torrential rains and floods, according to the Sudanese Civil Defense

CAIRO: Egypt has sent five military transport planes loaded with tons of relief aid to Sudan, where floods have killed 77 people and injured more than 30.

A spokesman for Egypt’s military said the aid comes “in the framework of Egypt’s support and solidarity with the brotherly Sudanese people.”

The aid includes tents, blankets, foodstuffs, medicines and medical supplies provided by the defense and health ministries.

Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed or damaged by torrential rains and floods, according to the Sudanese Civil Defense.

Heavy rains usually fall in Sudan between May and September, a period when the country experiences flash floods that damage housing, infrastructure and crops.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that 38,000 people across Sudan have been affected by rains and floods since the start of this season.