Yemen’s Houthis ‘will not extend UN-brokered truce’

Yemen’s Houthis ‘will not extend UN-brokered truce’
The Iran-backed Houthis said that they would not renew the UN-brokered truce in Yemen. (AFP)
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Updated 17 July 2022

Yemen’s Houthis ‘will not extend UN-brokered truce’

Yemen’s Houthis ‘will not extend UN-brokered truce’
  • Cease-fire suffered a major blow after Iran-backed militia refused to open main roads in Taiz

AL-MUKALLA: The Iran-backed Houthis said that they would not renew the UN-brokered truce in Yemen, slamming international calls, mainly from US President Joe Biden, to the movement to adhere to the truce and open roads in the besieged city of Taiz.

The movement’s Supreme Political Council blasted the outcomes of Biden’s visit to the region that called them to strengthen the truce, claiming that the calls “affect the sovereignty, security and stability of Yemen,” and pledged not to extend the truce.

“The SPC deplored the talk about understandings about extending the truce, stressing that the truce, which the side of the aggression did not abide by the implementation of its terms, represented a shocking and disappointing experience that cannot be repeated in the future,” the movement said in a statement carried by their official media. 

The joint Saudi and American statement that came out on Saturday after the US president’s meeting with Saudi officials called on the Houthis to implement all of the truce’s terms, including ending their siege of Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city, stressing that the truce has achieved “the longest period of peace in Yemen in six years.”

Other American officials such as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also asked the Houthis to respect the truce and open roads in Taiz and the other provinces.

In addition to saying they were not going to extend the truce, the Houthis responded to the calls by threatening to launch deadly attacks across Yemen, mainly in the central province of Marib, to break what they call “the blockade” and seize control of oil, gas and electricity facilities in Marib.

“To Biden, our country will not be left under siege and occupation. Our oil and gas resources will not be left in the hands of thieves and corrupt people,” Hussein Al-Ezzi, a Houthi leader, said on Twitter. 

The UN-brokered truce came into effect on April 2 and was renewed for another two months in June.

The truce has led to a significant reduction in violence and allowed the resumption of commercial flights from Sanaa airport and fuel ships to Hodeidah port.

The truce suffered a major blow after the Houthis refused to open main roads in Taiz and alternately suggested opening a small and old road into the city, a proposal that was rejected by the Yemeni government.

Yemen army generals believe that sporadic attacks by the Houthis and their repositioning and mobilization of forces and military equipment outside key cities such as Marib and Taiz show that they are preparing for new military operations when the truce expires.

Yemen’s army has said that eight soldiers were killed and nine others wounded in Houthi attacks, accusing the Houthis of committing 188 violations during the past three days in Hodeidah, Taiz, Marib and Hajjah.

Yemen’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Awadh bin Mubarak said that he discussed with the US Yemen envoy Tim Lenderking on Sunday achieving peace in Yemen and ending the Houthi siege on the city of Taiz.

“I reiterated the centrality of the besieged #Taiz issue. I explained that Taiz can’t be left behind and the #Houthis must end their atrocities against the populated city,” the Yemeni minister tweeted.


Gaza hospital services at risk amid power plant crisis

Gaza hospital services at risk amid power plant crisis
Updated 22 sec ago

Gaza hospital services at risk amid power plant crisis

Gaza hospital services at risk amid power plant crisis
  • Airstrike kills second senior Islamic Jihad commander; 31 Palestinians, including 6 children and 4 women, dead

GAZA CITY: The Palestinian Ministry of Health has warned that its hospital services would stop within 48 hours if operations at the power plant in Gaza were not restored.

The power station has stopped working since noon on Saturday, as fuel supplies ceased with the closure of Kerem Shalom last week.

During its continuous raids since Friday, Israeli forces have killed at least 31 Palestinians, including six children and four women, and wounded more than 270 others.

Medhat Abbas, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health, said that services would be suspended if around-the-clock electricity was not restored within two days.

“The Ministry of Health needs half a million liters of fuel per month to be able to operate the private generators,” Abbas said. 

He fears a real disaster soon, as fuel is currently unavailable.

Gaza City Mayor Yahya Al-Sarraj said that municipal services were also being negatively impacted due to the lack of electricity.

“As a result of the power plant shutdown, municipal services will be minimal or even stopped. It will minimize the supply of domestic water, the consumption of which increases especially during July and August,” Al-Sarraj said.

“Raw sewage will drain into the sea because the plants are not functioning at full capacity,” he added. 

The power supply has been reduced to four hours a day, and the resulting situation will affect water distribution as well as sewage treatment plants, Abbas said.

Efforts to reach a ceasefire continued with Egyptian and UN mediation.

Local and Arab media quoted Egyptian sources as saying that they were making efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement and to restore calm to the Gaza Strip.

But Israeli warplanes continued to bomb various targets in the Gaza Strip for the third day in a row.

The Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad, fired dozens of missiles toward Israeli cities.

Missiles were also directed toward Jerusalem for the first time since the start of the latest fighting round. Israel’s assassination of Khaled Mansour, the Al-Quds Brigade commander in Rafah, was a new blow to the Islamic Jihad in Gaza in the wake of the killing of Taysir Al-Jabari, another Islamic Jihad commander.

The Military Council of the Islamic Jihad in Gaza consists of 10 members under the leadership of Akram Al-Ajouri, whom Israel tried to assassinate in Beirut previously.

Abu Hamza, a spokesman for the Al-Quds Brigades, said in a press statement: “What has emerged from our missile capabilities, which today are draining our foolish enemy, is a small part of what we have prepared.”

He asked the Palestinian people in the West Bank to get involved in the resistance. 

“We call on all the resistance fighters and free people in the West Bank and occupied lands to engage in this epic, and let it be a massive intifada that establishes the demise of our enemy.”

Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas political bureau, said in a statement: “Around the clock, we are making all required efforts to protect our people and stop the aggression.”


UN Security Council will meet to discuss Israeli attack on Gaza: Palestine’s UN Ambassador

UN Security Council will meet to discuss Israeli attack on Gaza: Palestine’s UN Ambassador
Updated 07 August 2022

UN Security Council will meet to discuss Israeli attack on Gaza: Palestine’s UN Ambassador

UN Security Council will meet to discuss Israeli attack on Gaza: Palestine’s UN Ambassador
  • Mansour emphasized Security Council’s responsibility to condemn and halt Israeli aggression and provide international protection for the Palestinian people.

NEW YORK: Palestine’s UN ambassador has said that the UN Security Council will hold a meeting on Monday to discuss the Israeli brutal aggression on the Gaza Strip, the Palestine News and Info Agency (WAFA) reported.

Ambassador Riyad Mansour emphasized that the Security Council is responsible for maintaining international peace and security, as well as responding to the imperatives of condemning and halting Israeli aggression and providing international protection for the Palestinian people.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator Lynn Hastings issued a statement on Saturday expressing her deep concern about the situation, which has killed at least 31 Palestinians and injured more than 253.

“The humanitarian situation in Gaza is already dire and can only worsen with this most recent escalation” she said.

“The continued operation of basic service facilities such as hospitals, schools, warehouses, and designated shelters for internally displaced persons is essential and now at risk,” she cautioned.

An electricity company spokesman said that Gaza’s sole power plant shut down on Saturday after running out of fuel five days after Israel closed its goods crossing with the Palestinian enclave, AFP reported.

Hastings added that the movement and access of humanitarian personnel, critical medical cases and essential goods, such as food and fuel, into Gaza must not be hampered in order to meet humanitarian needs.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is also scheduled to deliver an important speech before the UN General Assembly in New York on Sept. 23, WAFA reported.

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El-Sisi: Egypt has an unchangeable policy on Taiwan

El-Sisi: Egypt has an unchangeable policy on Taiwan
Updated 07 August 2022

El-Sisi: Egypt has an unchangeable policy on Taiwan

El-Sisi: Egypt has an unchangeable policy on Taiwan
  • El-Sisi said that Egypt supported the “One China” policy as it is in the interests of world security and stability

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has said that his country’s policy remains consistent on Taiwan, with Egypt supporting the “One China” policy.

During a speech to military students, El-Sisi said that Egypt supported the “One China” policy as it is in the interests of world security and stability.

“We do not want more global crises that may affect us all,” he said. “In our foreign policy, we have constants in our policy that do not change, and we are always keen to be supportive of regional and international stability.”

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has angered China, which views the island as part of its territory.

A day after Pelosi’s visit to the self-governing island, China on Thursday began unprecedented military exercises and fired multiple missiles near Taiwan.

In response to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China said on Friday that it was suspending talks with the US in a number of areas, including on climate change. China’s foreign ministry announced that it was also halting communications with the US on combating transnational crime and drug trafficking, actions that the US referred to as irresponsible.

On Thursday, the US criticized China’s display of force as an “overreaction” and “provocative” after Beijing launched missiles and stationed fighter jets near Taiwan in retaliation for Pelosi’s visit to the island.

The Taiwanese defense ministry reported on Friday that it sent out planes to warn off Chinese aircraft that it claimed violated the median line in the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial boundary between the two sides, and entered the island’s air defense zone.


Italy ‘deeply concerned’ over Palestinian civilian casualties

Italy ‘deeply concerned’ over Palestinian civilian casualties
Updated 07 August 2022

Italy ‘deeply concerned’ over Palestinian civilian casualties

Italy ‘deeply concerned’ over Palestinian civilian casualties
  • Every effort must be made to de-escalate Gaza tension, diplomatic source tells Arab News

ROME: Italy condemns the escalation of violence in Gaza and is “deeply concerned” about the news of casualties among Palestinian civilians, the Italian ministry of foreign affairs said.

The ministry said it “strongly condemns the launch of rockets toward Israel’s territory and reiterates Israel’s right to ensure the safety of its citizens,” and “urges all sides to show moderation to prevent an escalation of the hostilities, which would cause further casualties and pain among civilians.”

“This new wave of violence confirms once again the necessity to relaunch diplomatic efforts to reach a fair and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” an official communique added.

“The situation is escalating badly and may bear unexpected consequences: This is just something we do not want to see in a global situation, which is already full of tensions due to the war in Ukraine and the China-Taiwan contest. This is why we believe that every diplomatic effort must be made in Middle East,” a diplomatic source in the prime minister’s office told Arab News.

The Italian Parliament is also concerned about the escalation in Gaza. Members of the foreign affairs committees of both Houses will meet in Rome on Tuesday to discuss the situation in a joint meeting.

“We are following with great concern what is happening at the border with the Gaza Strip. We must absolutely avoid the prospect of an escalation in the confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians on the border with the Gaza Strip,” Stefania Craxi, senator for the Forza Italia party and chairperson of the Italian Senate’s foreign and international committee told Arab News.

Craxi urged all parties to “work hard in order to foster a structured dialogue between both parts.”

The Middle East, she said, was “thirsty for peace, and no one can ever believe that a conflict is unavoidable. We all must think that the more all this will go on the more all these tensions may be badly destabilizing for all the Mediterranean area. This would certainly have repercussions on a global level in a moment when all geopolitical balances seem to be redefined.”

Piero Fassino, the member of Parliament for the Democratic Party who chairs the Italian Chamber of Deputies’ foreign and international committee, told Arab News: “It is necessary now more than ever to do everything possible to prevent a wider conflict, which would affect civilians on both sides and cause more casualties and greater suffering.”


Saudi Arabia leads condemnations of Israel’s storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque

Saudi Arabia leads condemnations of Israel’s storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque
Updated 46 min 12 sec ago

Saudi Arabia leads condemnations of Israel’s storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque

Saudi Arabia leads condemnations of Israel’s storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Sunday condemned Israeli settler storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard in what the Kingdom called a “serious violation of international law”.

In a statement, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the international community to end the escalation and provide the necessary protection to Palestinian civilians.

The Kingdom said the attack violates the sanctity of the holy sites in Jerusalem, which contributes to inciting tensions and prolonging violence amid escalations in Gaza that killed over 29 Palestinians and injured scores more this week.

Jordan also condemned Israeli violations at Al-Aqsa Mosque, urging Israel to “respect [the mosque’s] sanctity and halt measures aimed at altering the historical and legal status quo.”

In a statement published on Petra news agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates’ spokesperson Haitham Abu Alfoul stressed that running the affairs of the holy site was exclusively under the jurisdiction of Jordanian-run Waqf (endowments) and al-Aqsa Affairs Administration in Jerusalem.

He described Israel’s actions as a “violation of the historical and legal status quo and international law” and said it is a disrespect to the authority of the administration.

In a statement of condemnation, Qatar’s foreign ministry said the “provocation practices” are part of the attempts to alter the historical and legal status of Al-Aqsa Mosque, calling on the international community to halt Israel’s attempts to transform the ongoing conflict to a “religious war.”

The ministry said the provocative violations that coincide with the recent attacks on Gaza will lead to “a dangerous escalation of violence.”  

Kuwait expressed its condemnation of the Israeli actions, saying it was an attempt to change the historical and legal status of Al-Quds and its sanctities.

In a statement, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the attacks would increase violence and tension and threaten the stability of the region, stressing the State of Kuwait's call on the international community to assume its responsibilities to curb these attacks, put an end to them and provide protection for the Palestinian people and their sanctities.

The Muslim World League also condemned the storming of the mosque, saying it was a serious violation of international resolutions and laws, Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

The League and its international councils, bodies and councils denounced the “dangerous escalation” that impacts on the sanctity of Islamic sites.

They warned against continuous violations that threaten to escalate violence, for which everyone will pay the price, and push back peace efforts.

It stressed the importance of everyone working in pursuit of a just and comprehensive peace and stopping all practices that undermine peace opportunities in the region.

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