Houthi attacks in Taiz kill 15 civilians, wound 69 during truce

Houthi attacks in Taiz kill 15 civilians, wound 69 during truce
Yemeni volunteers form a human chain to pass food aid to mountainous towns on the outskirts of the country’s third-city of Taiz. (AFP/File)
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Updated 30 September 2022

Houthi attacks in Taiz kill 15 civilians, wound 69 during truce

Houthi attacks in Taiz kill 15 civilians, wound 69 during truce
  • Taiz residents say militia snipers, landmines, and siege exacerbate city’s humanitarian crisis

AL-MUKAALLA, YemenAn international rights group has said that 15 Yemeni civilians have been killed and 69 others wounded by Houthi fire and landmines in the city of Taiz since the UN-brokered truce began on April 2.

In a 30-page report titled “The Fragile Truce,” the Geneva-based SAM organization stated that Houthi snipers, as well as thousands of landmines and explosives-rigged drones fired by the Houthis at densely populated areas in Taiz, have killed 15 civilians, including seven children and eight women, and injured 69, including 28 children and eight women.

There have been 90 violations of the truce by the Houthis in the last six months.

They have targeted residential areas with heavy weapons, maintained a blockade of the city, and mobilized troops along the city’s outskirts, the organization said.

The UN-brokered truce, which is set to expire next week, has resulted in a significant reduction in fighting across the country, the resumption of commercial flights from Sanaa airport, and the entry of dozens of fuel ships into Hodeidah port.

Residents in Yemen’s third largest city, Taiz, which has been under Houthi siege since early 2015, complained that the truce had made no difference to their lives because the Houthis had not lifted the siege or stopped their attacks.

The Houthis have also refused several proposals and failed to attend a meeting with the Yemeni government to discuss road opening arrangements.

The militia has insisted on opening a small, unpaved road instead of the Yemeni government’s preferred main route leading into and out of the city.

Residents told SAM that Houthi snipers, landmines, and the siege have exacerbated the city’s humanitarian crisis and prevented them from reaching relatives, schools, or farms, accusing the Houthis of deliberately gunning down unarmed civilians.

Fatima Ibrahim said that her son, a shepherd, was shot by a Houthi sniper while grazing sheep in the open in Taiz.

When the mother and other residents rushed to save him, Houthi snipers pointed guns at them, forcing them to carry him to a nearby hospital on a motorbike.

“Houthi snipers do not differentiate between people. They regularly prey on women, children, the elderly, and even animals. Where is the cease-fire? We only see killing,” the mother said.

SAM demanded that more pressure be put on the Houthis to stop attacking residents in Taiz and called for the deployment of foreign peacekeepers to save civilians from Houthi attacks.

“The international community should take the truce in Yemen seriously by forming a monitoring committee overseen by neutral countries.

“The siege of Taiz must be lifted immediately, and the Houthi group must stop all attacks on civilians,” the organization said.

In a blow to peace efforts, the militia’s leaders reaffirmed their opposition to extending the ceasefire or the most recent version of the UN envoy’s proposal on Taiz and salary payment.

The militia’s Supreme Political Council president, Mahdi Al-Mushat, told UN Yemen Envoy Hans Grundberg, who is visiting Sanaa, that the movement would not extend the truce until the Yemeni government paid public servants in areas under their control.

The Yemeni government refuses to pay salaries and has demanded that the Houthis pay public servants from the sales of fuel ships passing through Hodeidah port.

In an attempt to break the impasse, the UN envoy proposed that the Houthis pay salaries from fuel sales based on 2014 payroll, with any shortfall covered by the Yemeni government.


Syria Kurds halt all joint ops with US-led coalition after Turkish attacks

Syria Kurds halt all joint ops with US-led coalition after Turkish attacks
Updated 29 sec ago

Syria Kurds halt all joint ops with US-led coalition after Turkish attacks

Syria Kurds halt all joint ops with US-led coalition after Turkish attacks
QAMISHLI: The Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed group that helped defeat Daesh terrorists in Syria, has stopped all joint counter-terrorism operations as a result of Turkish bombardment on its area of control, a spokesman said Friday.
Turkiye has ramped up its shelling and air strikes on northern Syria in recent weeks and is preparing a ground invasion against Syrian Kurdish fighters that it dubs terrorists but which make up the bulk of the US-supported SDF.
The SDF has long warned that fighting off a new Turkish incursion would divert resources away from protecting a prison holding IS fighters or targeting IS sleeper cells still waging hit-and-run attacks in Syria.
Aram Henna told Reuters that “all coordination and joint counter-terrorism operations with the coalition” as well as “all the joint special operations we were carrying out regularly” had had been halted.
Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder earlier told reporters that operations against IS had not stopped.
SDF head Mazloum Abdi earlier this week told Reuters he wanted a “stronger” message from Washington after seeing unprecedented Turkish deployments along the border.
“We are still nervous. We need stronger, more solid statements to stop Turkiye,” he said. “Turkiye has announced its intent and is now feeling things out. The beginning of an invasion will depend on how it analyzes the positions of other countries.”

UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed orders $817 million housing support for citizens

UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed orders $817 million housing support for citizens
Updated 02 December 2022

UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed orders $817 million housing support for citizens

UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed orders $817 million housing support for citizens
  • The third housing package of 2022 coincided with the UAE’s 51st National Day celebrations
  • UAE president earlier waived off over $146 million of debts for 1,214 Emirati citizens

DUBAI: UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan has ordered disbursement of housing loans worth $817 million for 1,900 Abu Dhabi citizens.

The third housing package of 2022 coincided with the UAE’s 51st National Day celebrations, marked on Dec.2, bringing the total value of housing support this year to almost $2 billion that benefitted over 4,000 citizens.

“It reflects the leadership’s commitment to ensuring social stability, enhancing living standards and enabling citizens to raise strong and stable families that will benefit the future of the UAE,” said a statement on Emirates News Agency (WAM).

The package includes housing loans, and the exemption of the retired and families of deceased borrowers in Abu Dhabi from loan repayments.

Ahead of the National Day, the UAE president earlier waived off over $146 million of debts for 1,214 Emirati citizens.

The Non-performing Debt Relief Fund said it would settle money owed by Emiratis in 17 banks, WAM earlier reported.


OIC welcomes UN resolutions on Palestinian cause

OIC welcomes UN resolutions on Palestinian cause
Updated 02 December 2022

OIC welcomes UN resolutions on Palestinian cause

OIC welcomes UN resolutions on Palestinian cause

JEDDAH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) welcomed the UN General Assembly’s adoption of five crucial resolutions on Palestine and the Middle East, including a text that calls on Israel to cease all actions aimed at ‘altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.‘
The Assembly adopted resolutions related to the mandate and work of the Committee on the “Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Division of Palestinian Rights in the United Nations Secretariat,” the media program on the Palestinian cause and the basic principles of a “peaceful solution” to the Palestinian cause.
It also adopted a resolution to commemorate Nakba Day, when Palestinians were driven from their homes in 1948 following the foundation of Israel.
The Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine said, during the debate that Israeli exceptionalism has only emboldened Israel’s worst instincts, a UN Assembly noted.
“Today the Assembly will finally acknowledge the historical injustice that befell the Palestinian people, adopting a resolution that decides to commemorate in the Assembly Hall the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Nakba,” it added.
The OIC praised the positions of the countries that contributed to sponsoring and supporting these resolutions, affirming their commitment to international law and in line with their historical positions based on the principles of truth, justice and peace, state news agency SPA meanwhile reported.


Unified strategy needed to resolve water shortage in Arab world, Egypt conference hears

Unified strategy needed to resolve water shortage in Arab world, Egypt conference hears
Updated 02 December 2022

Unified strategy needed to resolve water shortage in Arab world, Egypt conference hears

Unified strategy needed to resolve water shortage in Arab world, Egypt conference hears

CAIRO: The fourth Arab Water Conference titled “Arab Water Security for Life, Development and Peace,” organized by Palestine, the Arab League and the Arab Water Experts Network in Cairo, kicked off on Nov. 30.

The two-day conference was held under the auspices of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, with the participation of ministers of water resources as well as delegations from Arab countries and concerned regional organizations.

The conference on Wednesday and Thursday included working sessions and presentations of scientific papers dealing with issues related to water scarcity, drought and climate change.

Among the topics addressed were challenges posed by water scarcity and solutions to these, water demand and drought management, climate change, shared water resources and water diplomacy.

The conference also covered water desalination technology, the management of groundwater resources, the financing of and investment in the water sector, and challenges related to water in the Arab region.

Abbas, in a speech delivered on his behalf by Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amr, stressed that resolving the issue of water shortage in the Arab world requires developing a unified and comprehensive strategy that defends the right to water in the face of occupation, exploitation, or encroachment. It also entails the development of plans to confront water and food deficits due to existing challenges.

Abbas said: “Arab water security poses a major challenge to nearly 453 million Arab citizens, and it is an issue that captures the attention of Arab countries, as represented by the Arab League’s decision to establish the Council of Arab Water Ministers.”

He added that the transnational waters of the Arab world are a matter of security.

“We stand with our brothers in Egypt and Sudan in their demands on everything related to the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and in ensuring that their water, agricultural or energy-related security is not compromised,” Abbas said.

He called for reaching a binding legal agreement between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, in line with the statement issued by the UN Security Council in September 2021, in a manner that perpetuates cooperation and consolidates common interests among the peoples of the region.

He also called for joint Arab cooperation to find alternative sources of water for major projects that benefit everyone in light of the severe water shortage in Arab countries.

Hani Sweilem, Egyptian minister of water resources and irrigation, affirmed that the water issue in Egypt is one of the most important pillars of Egyptian national security and a major axis in achieving sustainable development. 

He said Egypt is one of the driest countries in the world, as rainfall in the country is estimated to be 1.3 billion cubic meters annually.

He said 97 percent of Egypt’s water depends on the Nile, which comes from outside its borders.

Over the years, the per capita share of water in Egypt decreased to about 560 cubic meters annually, compared to the global water poverty line, which determines the per capita share at 1,000 cubic meters annually, Sweilem said.


Egypt, Greece carry out joint air exercise MENA-II

Egypt, Greece carry out joint air exercise MENA-II
Updated 02 December 2022

Egypt, Greece carry out joint air exercise MENA-II

Egypt, Greece carry out joint air exercise MENA-II

CAIRO: The Egyptian and Greek air forces carried out the joint air exercise MENA-II with the participation of multirole combat aircraft.

The exercise comes within the framework of supporting and strengthening military cooperation relations with friendly and brotherly countries, said Egyptian military spokesman Gharib Abdel-Hafez.

The training included the implementation of a number of theoretical lectures to unify concepts, refine skills, and coordinate the management of joint operations in various methods of modern air combat.

Multirole fighters from both sides carried out joint sorties to train in attacking hostile targets and defending vital assets efficiently.

The training showed the extent to which the participating personnel have reached a high level of professionalism in carrying out all tasks, Abdel-Hafez said. 

The training “reflects the extent to which the air forces of both countries possess advanced human and technical capabilities that qualify them for joint action under various circumstances,” he added.

According to the Egyptian military, the training is an extension of a series of joint exercises being conducted in light of the Egyptian and Greek armed forces’ growing partnership and military cooperation in a variety of fields.

The MEDUSA-12 drills lasted several days in the Mediterranean Sea last month, and forces from Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, and the US took part.

Observers from the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Germany, France, Romania, Congo, and Morocco were also present.

In August, Egyptian and Greek naval forces engaged in a joint exercise in the Mediterranean, within the range of the Egyptian Northern Fleet.

According to the Egyptian military, the drills contributed to exchanging joint experiences with Greek naval forces, and helped both sides achieve common aims and maintain maritime security and stability in the region.