Houthis slow down Red Sea attacks

Armed men stand on the beach as the Galaxy Leader commercial ship, seized by Yemen’s Houthis in November, is anchored off the coast of Al-Salif, Yemen. (File/Reuters)
Armed men stand on the beach as the Galaxy Leader commercial ship, seized by Yemen’s Houthis in November, is anchored off the coast of Al-Salif, Yemen. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 18 December 2023
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Houthis slow down Red Sea attacks

Armed men stand on the beach as the Galaxy Leader commercial ship is anchored off the coast of Al-Salif.
  • For first time in more than a week, UKMTO and CENTCOM did not record any Houthi assaults on ships near Yemen’s Red Sea or Arabian Sea shores Sunday

AL-MUKALLA: The Houthis have significantly slowed down their attacks on commercial and military ships in the Red Sea during the past 24 hours as the Yemeni militia claimed there were Oman-sponsored talks between them and “international partners” who would like to convince the militia to stop attacking ships in the Red Sea. 

For the first time in more than a week, the UK Maritime Trade Operations agency, or UKMTO, and US Central Command, or CENTCOM, did not record any Houthi assaults on foreign ships near Yemen’s Red Sea or Arabian Sea shores on Sunday. 

The Houthis have launched ballistic missiles and drones at military and commercial ships in the Red Sea to press Israel to halt its military operations in Gaza and allow food, water and other supplies to enter the Palestinian territory.

The significant decrease in Houthi attacks on Sunday came hours after the Muscat-based Houthi chief negotiator Mohammed Abdul Salam claimed that international partners he did not name were in talks with them about their Red Sea attacks, adding that the talks fell through after they insisted on blocking the Red Sea to all Israel-bound ships.

“We have assured everyone that Yemen’s operations are to assist the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and that we cannot remain silent in the face of the aggression and siege on the strip, as there is no food, medicine or even drinking water,” Abdul Salam said on social media platform X.

CENTCOM said that a US Navy ship stationed in the Red Sea shot down 14 Houthi-fired drones on Saturday, the highest number of Houthi-fired drones destroyed in a day.

This comes only hours after Houthi military spokesman Yahiya Sarae claimed to have launched a drone barrage on Israel’s southern coastal city of Elate. Yemeni analysts disputed the Houthi assertion that foreign powers were involved in pushing them to halt their assaults.

Ali Al-Fakih, editor of Al-Masdar Online, told Arab News that to prevent military reprisals from the US or any other nation, Oman is leading efforts to mitigate tensions in the Red Sea caused by the Houthi attacks in an effort to salvage mediation efforts to end the conflict in Yemen.

Al-Fakih said that any assault on the Houthis would push them to boycott the recently successful UN-brokered peace negotiations in Yemen.

“Regional parties are concerned that if the Al-Houthis are exposed to counter-attacks by the US or others, the peace deal would be jeopardized. The Houthis will use it as a reason to back out of any deal,” Al-Fakih said.


Health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says war death toll at 37,372

Health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says war death toll at 37,372
Updated 18 June 2024
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Health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says war death toll at 37,372

Health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says war death toll at 37,372
  • The toll includes at least 25 deaths in the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said

GAZA STRIP, Palestinian Territories: The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said Tuesday that at least 37,372 people have been killed in the territory during more than eight months of war between Israel and Palestinian militants.
The toll includes at least 25 deaths in the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that a total of 85,452 people had been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the war began when Hamas militants attacked Israel on October 7.


US envoy says diplomacy ‘urgent’ to stop Israel-Lebanon border clashes

US envoy says diplomacy ‘urgent’ to stop Israel-Lebanon border clashes
Updated 18 June 2024
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US envoy says diplomacy ‘urgent’ to stop Israel-Lebanon border clashes

US envoy says diplomacy ‘urgent’ to stop Israel-Lebanon border clashes
  • US envoy Amos Hochstein: ‘The conflict... between Israel and Hezbollah has gone on for long enough’

BEIRUT: US envoy Amos Hochstein Tuesday called for the “urgent” de-escalation of cross-border exchanges of fire between Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Israeli forces raging since the start of the Gaza war.

“The conflict... between Israel and Hezbollah has gone on for long enough,” the presidential envoy said on a visit to Beirut.

“It’s in everyone’s interest to resolve it quickly and diplomatically — that is both achievable and it is urgent.”

The powerful Iran-backed armed group, an ally of the Palestinian militant movement Hamas, stepped up attacks on northern Israel last week after an Israeli strike killed one of its senior commanders.

But since Saturday afternoon, Hezbollah has not claimed any attacks against Israel, despite Israeli strikes on the border area in Lebanon’s south including one on Monday that killed a fighter.

Hochstein met with Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri, a day after holding talks in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Speaker Berri and I had a very a good discussion,” Hochstein said.

“We discussed the current security and political situation in Lebanon as well as the deal on the table right now with respect to Gaza, which also presents an opportunity to end the conflict across the Blue Line,” the demarcation line between Israel and Lebanon.

US President Joe Biden last month outlined a truce proposal which Hochstein said would “ultimately the end of the conflict in Gaza.”

“A ceasefire in Gaza and, or, an alternative diplomatic solution could also bring the conflict across the Blue Line to an end” and allow the return of displaced civilians to southern Lebanon and northern Israel, the envoy added.

Hezbollah last week said it has carried out more than 2,100 military operations against Israel since October 8, the day after Hamas’s attack that sparked the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.

The Israel-Lebanon border violence has killed at least 473 people on the Lebanese side, most of them fighters but also including 92 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

Israeli authorities say at least 15 soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed in the country’s north.


UAE allocates $70 million in humanitarian aid for Sudan

UAE allocates $70 million in humanitarian aid for Sudan
Updated 18 June 2024
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UAE allocates $70 million in humanitarian aid for Sudan

UAE allocates $70 million in humanitarian aid for Sudan
  • Since the onset of the crisis, the UAE has launched an air bridge with Sudan and Chad

DUBAI: The UAE has said 70 percent of the $100 million pledge it announced for UN agencies last April will go towards supporting humanitarian aid efforts in Sudan, Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the funds would be directed to key UN partners, including the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the World Food Programme, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the World Health Organization. The money will provide food and health support, protect women and children, and offer livelihoods and shelter in emergencies.
Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem bint Ibrahim Al-Hashemi emphasized the UAE’s commitment to humanitarian support for the Sudanese people. She highlighted ongoing efforts to provide aid in cooperation with the WFP, including operations in El-Fasher and other areas in Sudan.
Since the onset of the crisis, the UAE has launched an air bridge with Sudan and Chad, delivering 9,500 tons of food and medical supplies through 148 relief flights and a ship carrying some 1,000 tons of urgent supplies. Additionally, the UAE has supported Sudanese refugee camps in Chad and South Sudan by providing food.


Major blaze rips through northern Jordan

Major blaze rips through northern Jordan
Updated 18 June 2024
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Major blaze rips through northern Jordan

Major blaze rips through northern Jordan
  • The fire affected over 320,000 square meters of trees and dry grass

DUBAI:  Civil Defense teams on Monday extinguished a fire that spread from the Zamal area in the Koura District to the Anaba area in the Northern Mazar District.

Koura District Superintendent Bassem Al-Khalayleh informed the Jordan News Agency that the fire affected over 320 dunams (320,000 square meters) of trees and dry grass. He praised the quick response of the Civil Defense, which contained and extinguished the fire, preventing it from spreading to neighboring areas.

Al-Khalayleh urged citizens to clean the areas surrounding their homes, remove waste and dead vegetation that pose safety risks, ensure the presence and readiness of fire extinguishers, and educate individuals about fire hazards. He emphasized the dangers of throwing cigarette butts in forests, leaving flammable waste unattended, lighting fires in grassy areas, and using fireworks near forests or residential areas.

Jordan is currently experiencing a severe heatwave, with temperatures soaring to record highs of 45 degrees Celsius in several regions.

The Jordan Meteorological Department reported that the heatwave is expected to persist over the coming days, particularly impacting the desert areas, Jordan Valley, Dead Sea, and Aqaba. Residents are advised to stay indoors during peak sunlight hours, stay hydrated, and avoid strenuous outdoor activities.


Tunisian security units foil 59 sea border crossing attempts, rescue 1,806 migrants

Tunisian security units foil 59 sea border crossing attempts, rescue 1,806 migrants
Updated 18 June 2024
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Tunisian security units foil 59 sea border crossing attempts, rescue 1,806 migrants

Tunisian security units foil 59 sea border crossing attempts, rescue 1,806 migrants
  • At least 18 Tunisians were rescued on June 15 and 16 with the remainder being from sub-Saharan countries

DUBAI: Security units in Tunisia thwarted 59 attempts to illegally cross its sea borders and rescued 1,806 individuals, state news agency Tunis Afrique Press reported on Monday.

At least 18 Tunisians were rescued on June 15 and 16 with the remainder being from sub-Saharan countries, the Directorate General of the National Guard announced in a statement.

Two bodies were also recovered, and 24 wanted individuals, including smugglers and middlemen, were detained. In addition, the authorities seized boats and outboard motors used in illegal migration operations.