Houthi leader vows to intensify Red Sea attacks in defiance of UN

Houthi leader vows to intensify Red Sea attacks in defiance of UN
The leader of Yemen’s Houthi militia vowed on Thursday to intensify assaults on ships in the Red Sea, Bab El-Mandab, and the Gulf of Aden, only hours after the UN Security Council passed a resolution requesting the Houthis to stop their attacks. (Reuters/File)
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Updated 11 January 2024
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Houthi leader vows to intensify Red Sea attacks in defiance of UN

Houthi leader vows to intensify Red Sea attacks in defiance of UN
  • UN Resolution 2722, which was drafted by the US and Japan, gave member states the right to defend their vessels against Houthi attacks
  • It denounced the group for attacking ships in the Red Sea

AL-MUKALLA: The leader of Yemen’s Houthi militia vowed on Thursday to intensify assaults on ships in the Red Sea, Bab El-Mandab, and the Gulf of Aden, only hours after the UN Security Council passed a resolution requesting the Houthis to stop their attacks.
Other prominent members of the Iran-backed militia also slammed the Security Council decision and pledged to continue attacks in the waters until Israel lifted its blockade on Gaza.
In a televised speech, Abdul Malik Al-Houthi, who did not mention the Security Council resolution, said thousands of Yemenis had joined their military camps to fight in Palestine and that his forces would continue attacking ships in the Red Sea.
And he reiterated threats to attack US Navy vessels more forcefully if they targeted his forces.
“The retaliation to any American strike will not only be at the level of the current operation, which included more than 24 drones and multiple missiles, but will be larger,” Al-Houthi added.
UN Resolution 2722, which was drafted by the US and Japan, gave member states the right to defend their vessels against Houthi attacks and it denounced the group for attacking ships in the Red Sea.
It also demanded that the Houthis stop their attacks and release the Galaxy Leader vehicle carrier and its 25 crew members.
Since November, the Houthis have seized the Israel-linked Galaxy Leader and launched missiles and drones toward commercial and navy ships sailing through the Red Sea in a bid to prevent all Israel-linked or Israel-bound ships from accessing the important maritime route.
The Houthis say their actions are intended to put an end to Israel’s heavy bombardment of Gaza and allow humanitarian supplies to enter the area under siege.
Meanwhile, the Houthi chief negotiator based in the Omani capital Muscat, Mohammed Abdul Sallam, said their attacks on ships in the Red Sea would not jeopardize the security of the vital shipping lane, current UN-brokered peace efforts to end the war in Yemen, or their talks with Saudi Arabia.
He accused the US of pushing for the adoption of the new Security Council resolution to punish them for supporting people in Gaza.
In a post on X, he said: “We confirm that there is no risk to ships or international traffic in the Red Sea and that Resolution 2722 is riddled with American deceit and well-known Western falsehoods.”
Abdul Sallam told Reuters that the militia’s intensifying Red Sea operations would not threaten their peace negotiations with Saudi Arabia.
“It has nothing to do with what is happening in the Gaza Strip unless the Americans want to move other countries in the region to defend Israel which is another matter,” he added.
Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, head of the group’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee, urged Security Council members, namely the US, to encourage Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza rather than pressing the Houthis to halt their Red Sea assaults.
In a post on X, he said: “The resolution (2722) passed on the security of navigation in the Red Sea is a political game, and the US is the one breaking international law.”
The US Central Command said on Tuesday that American and British navy vessels shot down 21 drones, ballistic and anti-ship missiles launched by the Houthis against ships in the Red Sea.
The Houthis said they launched two dozen missiles and drones at a US naval ship in retaliation for the American military killing 10 of their members in the Red Sea last month.
Houthi leader, Mohammed Al-Bukhaiti, claimed on Thursday that the US recently promised them that it would stop supporting other opponents in Yemen and legitimize their government in exchange for them quitting or reducing their assaults on ships, saying they rejected the offer and would continue attacks despite the UN Security Council resolution.
“It (Yemen) will not end its armed operations against Israel until Israel stops committing genocide in Gaza and permits food, medicine, and fuel into the territory,” Al-Bukhaiti said.
Yemeni conflict specialist Nadwa Al-Dawsari told Arab News that the current UN resolution would not force the Houthis to cease their assaults on ships, citing a 2015 UN Security Council resolution that failed to stop Houthi military expansion.
“Condemnations never stopped the Houthis before, and they won’t now. Already, the Houthi leaders are ridiculing the UNSC decision. UNSC Resolution 2216 did not stop the Houthis. This resolution won’t either,” she said.


Israel’s Gaza war has negatively impacted human rights, says US report

Israel’s Gaza war has negatively impacted human rights, says US report
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Israel’s Gaza war has negatively impacted human rights, says US report

Israel’s Gaza war has negatively impacted human rights, says US report
  • Rights issues include credible reports of unlawful killings, enforced disappearances and torture, says report
  • Israeli military's conduct has come under scrutiny as its forces have killed over 34,000 in Gaza since Oct. 7

WASHINGTON: The war between Israel and Hamas that has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza and resulted in a severe humanitarian crisis has had “a significant negative impact” on the human rights situation in the country, the US State Department said in its annual report on Monday.

Significant human rights issues include credible reports of arbitrary or unlawful killings, enforced disappearance, torture and unjustified arrests of journalists among others, said the State Department’s 2023 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

The report added that the Israeli government has taken some credible steps to identify and punish the officials who may have been involved in those abuses.

Israel’s military conduct has come under increasing scrutiny as its forces have killed 34,000 Palestinians in Gaza, according to the enclave’s health authorities, many of them civilians and children. The Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip has been reduced to a wasteland, and extreme food shortages have prompted fears of famine.

Israel launched its assault in response to a Hamas attack on Oct. 7, in which Israel says 1,200 people were killed.

Rights groups have flagged numerous incidents of civilian harm during the Israeli army’s offensive in Gaza, as well as raised alarm about rising violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where Palestinian Health Ministry records show Israeli forces or settlers have killed at least 460 Palestinians since Oct. 7. But so far the Biden administration has said it has not found Israel in breach of international law.

Washington gives $3.8 billion in annual military assistance to its longtime ally. Leftist Democrats and Arab American groups have criticized the Biden administration’s steadfast support for Israel, which they say provides it with a sense of impunity.

But this month, President Joe Biden for the first time threatened to condition support for Israel, and insisted that it take concrete steps to protect humanitarian aid workers and civilians.


Israel’s Gaza war has negatively impacted human rights, says US report

Israel’s Gaza war has negatively impacted human rights, says US report
Updated 23 April 2024
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Israel’s Gaza war has negatively impacted human rights, says US report

Israel’s Gaza war has negatively impacted human rights, says US report
  • The Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip has been reduced to a wasteland, and extreme food shortages have prompted fears of famine

WASHINGTON: The war between Israel and Hamas that has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza and resulted in a severe humanitarian crisis has had “a significant negative impact” on the human rights situation in the country, the US State Department said in its annual report on Monday.
Significant human rights issues include credible reports of arbitrary or unlawful killings, enforced disappearance, torture and unjustified arrests of journalists among others, said the State Department’s 2023 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.
The report added that the Israeli government has taken some credible steps to identify and punish the officials who may have been involved in those abuses.
Israel’s military conduct has come under increasing scrutiny as its forces have killed 34,000 Palestinians in Gaza, according to the enclave’s health authorities, many of them civilians and children. The Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip has been reduced to a wasteland, and extreme food shortages have prompted fears of famine.
Israel launched its assault in response to a Hamas attack on Oct. 7, in which Israel says 1,200 people were killed.
Rights groups have flagged numerous incidents of civilian harm during the Israeli army’s offensive in Gaza, as well as raised alarm about rising violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where Palestinian Health Ministry records show Israeli forces or settlers have killed at least 460 Palestinians since Oct. 7. But so far the Biden administration has said it has not found Israel in breach of international law.
Washington gives $3.8 billion in annual military assistance to its longtime ally. Leftist Democrats and Arab American groups have criticized the Biden administration’s steadfast support for Israel, which they say provides it with a sense of impunity.
But this month, President Joe Biden for the first time threatened to condition support for Israel, and insisted that it take concrete steps to protect humanitarian aid workers and civilians.


Nobel laureate urges protest against Iran’s ‘war on women’

Nobel laureate urges protest against Iran’s ‘war on women’
Updated 23 April 2024
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Nobel laureate urges protest against Iran’s ‘war on women’

Nobel laureate urges protest against Iran’s ‘war on women’
  • Narges Mohammadi issues plea from Evin prison amid new crackdown by Tehran’s morality police

JEDDAH: Jailed Iranian Nobel laureate Narges Mohammadi urged Iranians on Monday to protest against the clerical regime’s “war against women” amid a new crackdown forcing women to cover their heads.
Mohammadi, who is being held in Evin prison in Tehran, called on Iranian women to share their stories of arrest and sexual assault at the hands of the authorities.
Iran launched a nationwide operation this month to enforce the wearing of the headscarf. Women have been arrested and taken to police stations by the morality police, and the Farsi hashtag meaning “war against women” has been trending on social media.
“People of Iran, I ask you, artists, intellectuals, workers, teachers, and students ... inside and outside the country to protest against this war against women,” Mohammadi said in a message from inside the prison. “Do not underestimate the power of sharing your experiences. Doing so will expose the misogynistic government and bring it to its knees.” She accused the authorities of bringing “a full-scale war against all women to every street in Iran.”
Mohammadi said she had been joined in jail by Dina Ghalibaf, a journalist and student who was arrested after accusing security forces on social media of putting her in handcuffs and sexually assaulting her during a previous arrest at a metro station. “For years, we have witnessed many women who have endured assault, abuse, and beatings by government agents,” Mohammadi said.
Mohammadi, 52, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year in recognition of her campaign for human rights in Iran, which has led to her spending much of the past two decades in and out of jail. She has been imprisoned since November 2021 and has not seen her husband and twin children, who live in Paris, for several years.


Bahrain’s crown prince discusses developments in Gaza with US secretary of state

Bahrain’s crown prince discusses developments in Gaza with US secretary of state
Updated 23 April 2024
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Bahrain’s crown prince discusses developments in Gaza with US secretary of state

Bahrain’s crown prince discusses developments in Gaza with US secretary of state
  • Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad reiterates his nation’s ‘firm stance’ in support of the Palestinian cause; Antony Blinken thanks Bahrain for its contributions to maritime security

LONDON: Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad of Bahrain and the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, on Monday discussed the latest developments in Gaza, along with other regional and global issues of common interest.

During their telephone conversation, the Prince “reviewed the strength of the Bahrain-US partnership, highlighting the importance of bolstering joint coordination to achieve common goals and interests,” the Bahrain News Agency reported.

During their talks about the current situation in the Middle East, and in particular the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, the crown prince reiterated Bahrain’s “firm stance toward the Palestinian cause and its unwavering commitment to reaching a peaceful, lasting and fair solution in support of Palestinians’ legitimate right to establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

He also highlighted the important need to protect civilians and deescalate the violence in Gaza, which he said threatens regional security and stability.

The US State Department said both officials “reinforced their shared commitment to preventing the spread of regional conflict,” and Blinken thanked Bahrain for its contributions to maritime security.

They also discussed ways in which “cooperation under the Comprehensive Security Integration and Prosperity Agreement continues to strengthen the strategic partnership” between their countries, spokesperson Matthew Miller added.


Israeli protesters burn symbolic Passover table outside PM’s house

Israeli protesters burn symbolic Passover table outside PM’s house
Updated 23 April 2024
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Israeli protesters burn symbolic Passover table outside PM’s house

Israeli protesters burn symbolic Passover table outside PM’s house
  • Israel has killed 34,151 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry
  • Outside Netanyahu’s house, demonstrators, some of whom were relatives of hostages, set fire to a symbolic seder table after laying out empty places on another table to mark the hostage’s continued captivity

CAESAREA, Israel: Israeli protesters burnt a symbolic Passover table outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s house at the start of the Jewish holiday on Monday, accusing him of failing hostages in Gaza.
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the gates leading to the house in the coastal town of Caesarea, calling for the release of hostages abducted by Palestinian militants on October 7 and criticizing Netanyahu’s leadership.
Israeli officials say 129 captives remain in the Gaza Strip after the Hamas attack, including 34 whom the military says are dead.
Their plight has cast a pall over this year’s Passover, also known in Hebrew as the “holiday of freedom.”
Guy Ben Dror said he was protesting against “the worst prime minister in the history of Israel.”
“He doesn’t want the hostages back because he doesn’t want the war to end or he’ll go to prison,” said the 54-year-old investment firm worker.
Passover commemorates the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. A ritual meal, known as a seder, takes place on the first evening, with participants sitting around a tray laden with symbolic food.
Outside Netanyahu’s house, demonstrators, some of whom were relatives of hostages, set fire to a symbolic seder table after laying out empty places on another table to mark the hostage’s continued captivity.
“We are here to share our feelings, our grief, our sorrow with the families of the kidnapped,” said demonstrator Yael Ben Porat.
“I didn’t want to celebrate this holiday when we have so many of our people, our brothers and sisters kidnapped over there in Gaza,” the 62-year-old lawyer said.
“All of us believe he is responsible for the horrible disaster of October 7,” she said, accusing Netanyahu of failures in negotiating their release.
“This night is only bitter, no freedom,” she said.
In a post on X marking the start of Passover on Monday, Netanyahu insisted “our resolve remains unyielding to see all hostages back with their families.”
“Tonight, we think of those who cannot join their families at the seder table. Their absence strengthens our resolve and reminds us of the urgency of our mission. We will not rest until each one is freed,” he said.
“The days ahead will see increased military and diplomatic efforts to secure the freedom of our hostages,” he said.