Yemen’s Houthi militia ‘ready for peace’ with Saudi Arabia

Hussein al-Ezzi, deputy foreign minister in the Houthi-led government, addresses a news conference in Sanaa, Yemen February 5, 2024. (REUTERS)
Hussein al-Ezzi, deputy foreign minister in the Houthi-led government, addresses a news conference in Sanaa, Yemen February 5, 2024. (REUTERS)
Short Url
Updated 05 February 2024
Follow

Yemen’s Houthi militia ‘ready for peace’ with Saudi Arabia

Yemen’s Houthi militia ‘ready for peace’ with Saudi Arabia
  • “America is the one assaulting us, and it will not escape retribution, and we will never remain mute about the aggression against our nation, and it will have no impact on our stance toward Gaza and Palestine”

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s Houthi militia is ready to make peace with Saudi Arabia, the groups’ deputy foreign minister said on Monday, accusing the US of obstructing efforts to reach a settlement.

Speaking to reporters in Sanaa, Hussein Al-Ezzi expressed “special gratitude” to Saudi Arabia for its unwillingness to join US-UK strikes on Yemen, adding that the militia is “eager” to enter peace negotiations with the Kingdom.

“Sanaa is prepared for peace with Riyadh despite the challenges posed by the US and its associated Yemeni groups,” Al-Ezzi said.

The US and UK have carried out about 300 strikes in Yemen since Jan. 12, the official said, threatening to make the US pay a “heavy price” for the attacks. “America is the one assaulting us, and it will not escape retribution, and we will never remain mute about the aggression against our nation, and it will have no impact on our stance toward Gaza and Palestine.”

Since November, the Houthis have seized a commercial ship and launched dozens of missiles and drones at civilian as well as military vessels in the Red Sea. Al-Ezzi said that the militia, in a show of support to Palestine, only targets Israel-linked ships or vessels on their way to the country.

US and UK military and commercial ships were added to the militia’s list of targets after the two countries launched strikes on Yemen, he added.

The Houthi warning to strike US and UK ships came as Houthi media and Yemenis in the Houthi-controlled western province of Hodeidah reported explosions on Sunday night when jets struck targets in the Ras Isa, Al-Zaydiyah and Al-Hawak districts. On Monday afternoon, the Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV channel claimed that the US and UK forces conducted attacks on Hodeidah’s Al-Katheeb area.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s internationally recognized government said that UN pressure to end its offensive on Hodeidah city in 2018 had led to the escalating Houthi violence on the Red Sea since last year.

Yemeni Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani on Sunday blamed the UN and its former Yemen envoy, Martin Griffiths, for pressuring the Yemeni government to abandon its military offensive on the Houthi-controlled port city and sign the UN-brokered Stockholm Agreement.

Government forces controlled Hodeidah’s airport, as well as the city’s southern and eastern entrances, and were only a few kilometers from the city’s port before the UN urged an end to the offensive, he added.

At the time, the UN warned that conflict in Hodeidah would halt the supply of 70 percent of the country’s humanitarian aid and other essential items through the city’s port.

“The entire world is paying the price for ignoring government warnings about the dangers of allowing the Iranian regime and its arms in the region, most notably the Houthi militia, to control the city of Hodeidah and its ports,” Al-Eryani said, according to the SABA news agency.

 


Israel supreme court rules religious seminary students must be drafted to military

Israel supreme court rules religious seminary students must be drafted to military
Updated 16 sec ago
Follow

Israel supreme court rules religious seminary students must be drafted to military

Israel supreme court rules religious seminary students must be drafted to military

Israel’s Supreme Court rules military must draft ultra-Orthodox, a ruling that could split Netanyahu’s coalition.


Israeli airstrikes kill at least 24 in Gaza City, say Gaza officials

Israeli airstrikes kill at least 24 in Gaza City, say Gaza officials
Updated 2 min 33 sec ago
Follow

Israeli airstrikes kill at least 24 in Gaza City, say Gaza officials

Israeli airstrikes kill at least 24 in Gaza City, say Gaza officials
  • Israeli airstrikes hit two schools, a house in Gaza City
  • Tanks plow deeper into Rafah in southern Gaza
CAIRO: Israeli forces killed at least 24 Palestinians in three separate airstrikes on Gaza City early on Tuesday, health officials said, while tanks deepened their incursion into the town of Rafah in the south of the enclave.
Two of the strikes hit two schools in Gaza City, killing at least 14 people, medics said. Another strike on a house in the Shati (Beach) camp, one of the Gaza Strip’s eight historic refugee camps, killed 10 others.
The house in Shati belonged to the extended family of Hamas political chief, Ismail Haniyeh, who is based in Qatar, killing one of his sisters along with other relatives too, family members and medics said.
Haniyeh, who leads Hamas’ diplomacy and is the public face of the militant Islamist group that has been running Gaza, has lost many of his relatives in Israeli air strikes since Oct. 7, including three of his sons.
Israel’s military said its forces had targeted militants overnight in Gaza City who had been involved in the planning of attacks on Israel. The militants included some involved in holding hostages captive and some who had taken part in Hamas’ cross-border attack on Oct. 7.
The Israeli Air Force struck two structures “used by Hamas terrorists in Shati and Daraj Tuffah in the northern Gaza Strip. The terrorists operated inside school compounds that were used by Hamas as a shield for its terrorist activities,” the military statement said.
Hamas denies using civilian facilities such as schools and hospitals for military purposes.
More than eight months into the fighting, international mediation backed by the United States has so far failed to bring a ceasefire agreement. Hamas says any agreement must bring an end to the war, while Israel says it will agree only temporary pauses in fighting until Hamas is eradicated.

SHORTAGES OF MEDICINE
Israel’s ground and air campaign in Gaza was triggered when Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.
The Israeli offensive in retaliation has killed almost 37,600 people, according to Palestinian health authorities, and has left the tiny, densely populated Gaza Strip in ruins.
Gaza’s health ministry said on Tuesday that hospitals and medical centers in the enclave were experiencing a severe shortage of medicines and medical supplies due to the continued Israeli offensive, Israel’s control and closure of all crossings and its targeting of the health sector in Gaza.
In particularly short supply are medications needed for emergency, anaesthesia, intensive care and operations, the ministry said in a statement, while cancer patients were unable to travel to hospitals.
Since early May, fighting has focused on Rafah, on Gaza’s southern edge abutting the border with Egypt, where around half of the enclave’s 2.3 million people have been sheltering after fleeing other areas.
Residents said fierce fighting had taken place overnight in western areas of Rafah, where tanks have extended their incursion in recent days, blowing up several homes in the area.

Palestinian leader Abbas to visit Moscow, Russian agencies report

Palestinian leader Abbas to visit Moscow, Russian agencies report
Updated 52 min 32 sec ago
Follow

Palestinian leader Abbas to visit Moscow, Russian agencies report

Palestinian leader Abbas to visit Moscow, Russian agencies report
  • TASS said Ushakov did not disclose the timing but said the dates had been agreed

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will visit Russia, Russian news agencies reported on Tuesday, citing Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov.
TASS said Ushakov did not disclose the timing but said the dates had been agreed. Another state agency, RIA, said Abbas had planned to come to Russia in November last year, but the visit was postponed at the request of the Palestinian side.
Russia says it wants to help resolve the conflict in the Middle East and that peace will not be possible without the establishment of a Palestinian state.


Jordan bans 10 people from traveling, charges 28 others with human trafficking and fraud in pilgrims case

Jordan bans 10 people from traveling, charges 28 others with human trafficking and fraud in pilgrims case
Updated 13 min 53 sec ago
Follow

Jordan bans 10 people from traveling, charges 28 others with human trafficking and fraud in pilgrims case

Jordan bans 10 people from traveling, charges 28 others with human trafficking and fraud in pilgrims case
  • Defendants are involved in sending Jordanians to perform Hajj pilgrimage outside of country's official quota

CAIRO: Jordan said it barred 10 people from traveling and charged 28 others with human trafficking and fraud who are involved in sending Jordanians to perform Hajj pilgrimage outisde of country's official quota, Petra News Agency reported. 

The Public Prosecution announced the results of what it called preliminary investigations into the case of Jordanians traveling to perform Hajj rituals “outside the official mission during the current year 2024, which resulted in the death of 99 people,” citing the latest figures issued by the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate Affairs.

It said on Tuesday that the Public Prosecution as a result of the investigation, charged a felony of human trafficking and a misdemeanor of fraud against 28 defendants.

It added that the prosecution decided to arrest 19 people, including a woman, and prevent 10 people from traveling pending the investigation case.

The Public Prosecution will also commission the Anti-Cybercrime Unit to monitor and track the testimonies of the victims and videos related to promoting illegal Hajj on social media platforms.

Tourism companies around the world deceived foreign visitors to Saudi Arabia by issuing visas not intended for Hajj, while encouraging them to violate regulations by staying in Makkah two months before the pilgrimage, a Ministry of Interior spokesman said on Monday.

The security spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior Colonel Talal bin Abdul Mohsen bin Shalhoub said 1,301 people died during Hajj including 1,079 pilgrims who did not have Hajj permits. Those who died and were unauthorized to perform Hajj made up 83 percent of the total deaths.


Blinken emphasized to Israel’s Gallant the need for post-war Gaza plan

Blinken emphasized to Israel’s Gallant the need for post-war Gaza plan
Updated 25 June 2024
Follow

Blinken emphasized to Israel’s Gallant the need for post-war Gaza plan

Blinken emphasized to Israel’s Gallant the need for post-war Gaza plan
  • The Middle East remains on edge as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that a coming end to the intense phase of fighting in Gaza would allow Israel to deploy more forces along the northern border with Lebanon
  • Hamas came to power in Gaza in 2006 after Israeli soldiers and settlers withdrew in 2005, but the enclave is still deemed as Israeli-occupied territory by the United Nations

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday pressed Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on the need for Israel to swiftly develop a robust post-war plan for Gaza and ensure the tensions with Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border do not escalate further.
“He (Blinken) updated Minister Gallant on ongoing diplomatic efforts to advance security, governance, and reconstruction in Gaza during a post-conflict period and emphasized the importance of that work to Israel’s security,” a State Department statement following the meeting said.
Washington has repeatedly urged Israel to craft a realistic post-war plan for Gaza and warned that the absence of it could trigger lawlessness and chaos as well as a comeback by Hamas in the Palestinian territory. Palestinians have previously said only an end to Israeli occupation and the creation of a Palestinian state will bring peace.
“He also underscored the importance of avoiding further escalation of the conflict and reaching a diplomatic resolution that allows both Israeli and Lebanese families to return to their homes,” the State Department added.
The Middle East remains on edge as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that a coming end to the intense phase of fighting in Gaza would allow Israel to deploy more forces along the northern border with Lebanon.
Earlier in June, Hezbollah targeted Israeli towns and military sites with the largest volleys of rockets and drones in the hostilities so far, after an Israeli strike killed the most senior Hezbollah commander yet.
Gallant has been on a trip to Washington, D.C., and has also met Amos Hochstein and Brett McGurk, top aides to President Joe Biden, as well as CIA Director Bill Burns. He is set to meet with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday.
A small group of protesters chanted slogans while holding a Palestinian flag as Gallant, for whom the International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan is seeking an arrest warrant, entered the Department building.
The Israeli minister described his meetings in Washington, including the one with Blinken, as “critical,” according to comments released by his office.
“The meetings we are holding are extremely important and impactful on the future of the war in Gaza and our ability to achieve the goals of the war, on developments on the northern border, and other areas,” Gallant said.
Earlier at a news briefing, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters Washington hoped to make progress in its talks with Gallant, although said there was still no agreement with Israel on a post-war Gaza plan even as Israel was getting close to ending major combat operations in Rafah.
“We have been quite consistent that for there to be an enduring defeat of Hamas, there needs to be a plan for what replaces them and what replaces that needs to be Palestinian-led governance, needs to be realistic security plans,” Miller said.
“We do not want to see them reoccupy Gaza, which is why we continue to push for an alternative to that,” Miller said.
Hamas came to power in Gaza in 2006 after Israeli soldiers and settlers withdrew in 2005, but the enclave is still deemed as Israeli-occupied territory by the United Nations. Israel controls access to Gaza. Hamas has been gaining popularity among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in recent months.
The war started when Palestinian Hamas militants burst over the border and attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking 250 others hostage, according to Israeli tallies.
The Israeli offensive in retaliation has killed almost 37,600 people, according to Palestinian health authorities, and has left Gaza in ruins.