US-led marine coalition foils ‘large-scale’ Houthi drone attack in Red Sea

US-led marine coalition foils ‘large-scale’ Houthi drone attack in Red Sea
In this photo provided by the Ministry of Defense, Sea Ceptor missiles are fired from HMS Richmond shooting down two Houthi drones, on Mar. 9, 2024, in the Red Sea. (AP)
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Updated 09 March 2024
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US-led marine coalition foils ‘large-scale’ Houthi drone attack in Red Sea

US-led marine coalition foils ‘large-scale’ Houthi drone attack in Red Sea
  • The US Central Command said that its navy ships, warplanes and others from allied countries shot down 15 drones fired by the Houthis in Yemen
  • The French military also said that its warships and aircraft shot down four drones launched by the Houthis on Saturday

AL-MUKALLA: A maritime coalition led by the US in the Red Sea foiled a major drone attack by the Houthis on Saturday as the Yemeni militia claimed to have fired dozens of drones and ballistic missiles at commercial and navy ships.
The US Central Command said that its navy ships, warplanes and others from allied countries shot down 15 drones fired by the Houthis in Yemen at commercial and navy ships in the Red Sea, accusing the militia of endangering international maritime navigation in the strategic shipping channel.
The French military also said that its warships and aircraft shot down four drones launched by the Houthis on Saturday targeting the EU maritime operation in the Gulf of Aden.
In Sanaa, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said that their naval and drone forces launched a “number” of missiles at the “US-owned” cargo ship Propel Fortune, as well as 37 drones at US Navy vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
The Houthis claim that their missile and drone assaults against US ships are both in support of the Palestinian people and vengeance for US and UK bombings on regions under their control in Yemen.
According to information about the targeted ship on www.marinetraffic.com, which provides data on ship movements and whereabouts, the bulk carrier is sailing under the flag of Singapore and left India’s Dhamra Port on Feb. 25 to an undisclosed location, posting a “No connect to Israel” message on the website to avoid being targeted by the Houthis.
Since November, Iran-backed Houthis have seized a commercial ship and launched hundreds of drones, ballistic missiles, and remotely operated and explosive-laden boats, against foreign commercial and naval vessels in the Red Sea, Bab Al-Mandab Strait and Gulf of Aden.
The Houthis claim that their strikes are intended to push Israel to release supplies of water, food and medicine into the besieged Gaza Strip in Palestine.
However, many Yemenis believe that the Houthis are attacking ships to win the hearts and minds of Yemenis who are outraged by Israeli military operations in Gaza, to divert attention away from their failure to address public services or pay public employees in areas under their control, and to prepare for attacks against their opponents in Yemen.
Tawfeeq Al-Sharjabi, Yemen’s water and environment minister, and a member of the Yemen government’s crisis cell tasked with dealing with the sunk MV Rubymar ship in the Red Sea, told Arab News that an oil spill expert from the UN team would assist in the rescue of the ship after arriving in Aden on Saturday and that the remaining four members of the same team would arrive in the coming days.
“When the remaining specialists arrive, which is anticipated within a few days, they will meet with the government’s ship crisis management cell to go over the emergency response plan and commence field landing and inspection,” Al-Sharjabi said.
On March 2, the Belize-flagged and Lebanese-operated ship sank in the Red Sea, carrying more than 21,000 tons of ammonium phosphate-sulfate NPS fertilizer and more than 200 tons of gasoline, almost two weeks after being severely damaged by Houthi missiles.
The ship has raised concerns about an impending environmental calamity in the Red Sea, prompting the Yemeni authorities to request international aid in retrieving the ship.
On Saturday, hundreds of people, including fishermen, organized a demonstration in the Red Sea Khokha region to condemn Houthi assaults on ships in the Red Sea and to urge for the rescue of the sinking ship.
The demonstrators held banners accusing the Houthis of harming Red Sea security and nautical life, as well as threatening their livelihoods.
“The targeting of commercial ships damaged us, the fishermen, not Israel,” read one of the posters.
“Thousands of fishermen’s families face famine due to the Rubymar ship’s sinking,” said another.


UNICEF says Israel denied entry to aid convoy for Gaza 

UNICEF says Israel denied entry to aid convoy for Gaza 
Updated 5 sec ago
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UNICEF says Israel denied entry to aid convoy for Gaza 

UNICEF says Israel denied entry to aid convoy for Gaza 
  • UNICEF spokesman James Elder said such denials are “consistent and relentless,” with hundreds of similar incidents documented

LONDON: UNICEF has reported that one of its aid convoys was denied entry to northern Gaza this week, despite possessing all the necessary documents, in what the organization’s spokesman described as a common occurrence.

In an interview with the BBC’s “Today” program, UNICEF spokesman James Elder, who was in one of the aid lorries attempting to travel from southern to northern Gaza on Wednesday, said that despite having all the required paperwork it took the convoy 13 hours to travel approximately 40 kilometers (30 miles). After spending eight hours at checkpoints, they were ultimately denied entry to northern Gaza, he said, “so 10,000 children who were going to benefit from nutritional supplies, medical supplies, did not.”

Elder said the reasons behind the decision were unclear, but noted that such denials are “consistent and relentless,” with hundreds of similar incidents documented.

The Israeli army responded by claiming that the documentation for the UNICEF vehicle in the convoy was incorrectly filled out and accused Elder of presenting a “partial picture.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by James Elder (@james_unicef)

While waiting at one of the checkpoints, Elder said he witnessed a group of around eight men attempting to catch fish with a single net. “Suddenly we heard a tank coming down, we heard... automatic fire,” he said. “We saw two fishermen fleeing, one was shot in the back, one in the neck.”

The UN spokesman added that the WHO, which had paramedics in the convoy, requested permission from the Israeli Defense Forces to provide medical support to the injured men, but this request was denied. He later saw the fishermen’s wounds when their colleagues were allowed to retrieve their bodies.

Elder, who had last been in Gaza six weeks previously, said the situation is far worse now. “It’s the first time I’ve seen a real level of despondency,” he said. “They’re so despairing, they’re so broken, they’ve lost so many family members. They have nothing left.

“It’s very unsettling to see a child when their parent can’t protect them, it’s heartbreaking when a parent can’t protect their child,” he continued. “Increasingly I’m hearing people say, ‘I just want this over, I’m happy if there’s an airstrike on me tonight.’”
 


UNRWA slams Israeli allegations in Google Ads dispute

UNRWA slams Israeli allegations in Google Ads dispute
Updated 14 min 52 sec ago
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UNRWA slams Israeli allegations in Google Ads dispute

UNRWA slams Israeli allegations in Google Ads dispute
  • Israeli government’s claims appear as “sponsored links” at the top of Google search results for UNRWA

LONDON: The UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees has rejected claims made against it in Israeli advertisements on Google as “unrealistic.”

The Israeli government’s claims appear as “sponsored links” at the top of Google search results for UNRWA, Anadolu Agency reported.

These advertisements from the Tel Aviv administration’s website contain unsubstantiated allegations, including accusations of UNRWA employees’ involvement in the Oct. 7 attacks and that the agency has been infiltrated by Hamas and other groups.

UNRWA spokesman, Jonathan Fowler, said that the allegations of infiltration were baseless. Fowler noted that the agency had conducted repeated investigations and taken corrective actions when allegations of neutrality violations had arisen, both during and before the war in Gaza.

He stressed that there was no evidence linking any of the agency’s employees to the Oct. 7 operation on settlements adjacent to Gaza.

Earlier in April, an independent review headed by the French former foreign minister, Catherine Colonna, found that Israeli authorities had yet to provide any evidence to back up their allegations that a dozen people worked for UNRWA.

The wide-ranging 48-page report, seen by Arab News, also found that Israel had not previously expressed concerns about any individuals named on the agency staffing lists that it had been receiving since 2011.
 


UN experts say Sudan paramilitaries recruiting in Central Africa

UN experts say Sudan paramilitaries recruiting in Central Africa
Updated 39 min ago
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UN experts say Sudan paramilitaries recruiting in Central Africa

UN experts say Sudan paramilitaries recruiting in Central Africa
  • “The spillover effect of the conflict in the Sudan has significantly affected the situation in the Central African Republic,” said the expert committee
  • This “continues to constitute a security threat to civilians and an impediment to humanitarian activities in the area“

UNITED NATIONS: Sudanese paramilitary forces are using the Central African Republic as a “supply chain,” including for recruitment of fighters, according to a report published Friday by UN experts, who are concerned about a “spillover effect.”
Sudan descended into war in April 2023 when the generals in charge of the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) took up arms against each other in a fight for control, rejecting a plan to integrate.
“The spillover effect of the conflict in the Sudan has significantly affected the situation in the Central African Republic,” said the expert committee, formed by the UN Security Council to monitor sanctions on Central Africa.
They highlighted in particular the humanitarian situation, as the country sees an influx of millions of Sudanese refugees, as well as incursions by the two warring Sudanese parties — plus air raids by the Sudanese army in and around the Umm Dafog border post, where the RSF is present.
This “continues to constitute a security threat to civilians and an impediment to humanitarian activities in the area,” the experts said.
They insist the paramilitaries are also using the Am Dafok area in the Central African Republic on the border “as a key logistical hub.”
Because the RSF can “move between the two countries easily through a long-standing network” they have been able to recruit “from among armed groups in the Central African Republic.”
“Opposition armed groups from the Central African Republic have been reported to have actively recruited for, and sent members of their own groups to fight in, the Sudan under RSF,” the experts said.
They noted in particular fighters in Sudan since as early as August 2023 from the Central African rebel group Popular Front for the Rebirth of Central Africa (FPRC).
The experts said they are aware that this armed group and others “are still able to cross between the Sudan and the Central African Republic at will and use Sudanese territory to launch attacks.”
The experts thus called on Central African authorities to “counteract the surge in arms trafficking from neighboring countries, particularly given the current conflict situation in the Sudan.”
They also asked the leaders to combat “the infiltration of foreign fighters into the Central African Republic, which poses a significant long-term threat to the region.”


UAE, UK leaders discuss bilateral ties at G7 summit

UAE, UK leaders discuss bilateral ties at G7 summit
Updated 15 June 2024
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UAE, UK leaders discuss bilateral ties at G7 summit

UAE, UK leaders discuss bilateral ties at G7 summit
  • Sheikh Mohamed, Sunak discussed a number of regional and international issues of mutual interest

DUBAI: UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan met with UK Prime Minister Sunak on Friday on the sidelines of the G7 Summit session on artificial intelligence and energy in Apulia, Emirates News Agency reported.

During the meeting, the two leaders talked about how to strengthen and expand bilateral relations in a variety of areas, including economics and development.

The two leaders also discussed a number of regional and international issues of mutual interest, emphasizing the importance of laying the groundwork for peace, stability, and security in the Middle East.


Hezbollah keeps up pressure on Israel days after commander’s death

Hezbollah keeps up pressure on Israel days after commander’s death
Updated 15 June 2024
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Hezbollah keeps up pressure on Israel days after commander’s death

Hezbollah keeps up pressure on Israel days after commander’s death
  • Hezbollah said Saturday that it targeted the Meron base in northern Israel with “guided missiles,” and sent “attack drones” toward another Israeli base
  • The Israeli army said “two projectiles were fired from Lebanon toward the IDF (army) Aerial Control Unit in the area of Meron in northern Israel“

BEIRUT: Hezbollah on Saturday kept up retaliatory attacks on military positions in northern Israel, and one person was killed in Lebanon, days after an Israeli strike hit a senior commander from the Iran-backed group.
Senior Hezbollah commander Taleb Abdallah was killed in an Israeli strike in the village of Jouaiyya on Tuesday, alongside three comrades, a source close to the group had told AFP.
Hezbollah said Saturday that it targeted the Meron base in northern Israel with “guided missiles,” and sent “attack drones” toward another Israeli base “as part of the response to the attack and assassination carried out by the enemy in Jouaiyya.”
Israel and Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, have traded near-daily cross-border fire since the Palestinian militant group’s October 7 attack on Israel which triggered war in the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli army had confirmed it carried out the strike targeting Abdallah, describing him as “one of Hezbollah’s most senior commanders in southern Lebanon.”
On Saturday, the Israeli army said “two projectiles were fired from Lebanon toward the IDF (army) Aerial Control Unit in the area of Meron in northern Israel,” reporting “no injuries or damage to the unit’s capabilities.”
It also said “several aerial targets were identified crossing from Lebanon into Israeli territory” and falling in the Goren area, adding there were no reported injuries but that “a fire broke out.”
“Aircraft struck a Hezbollah terrorist” in south Lebanon’s Aitarun area, the military said, adding that “artillery fired to remove a threat,” also in the Aitarun area.
A source close to Hezbollah and rescuers affiliated with the group said a non-Lebanese man was killed in Aitarun, without providing further details.
Lebanon’s official National News Agency had reported unspecified casualties in an “Israeli drone” strike on a motorbike on the road between Aitarun and Bint Jbeil in southern Lebanon.
On Wednesday, top Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine vowed the group would “increase the intensity, strength, quantity and quality of our attacks,” while speaking at Abdallah’s funeral.
A Lebanese military source said Abdallah was the “most important” Hezbollah commander to have been killed since the start of the war.
The cross-border violence has killed at least 471 people in Lebanon, most of them fighters but also including 91 civilians, according to an AFP tally.
Israeli authorities say at least 15 Israeli soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed in the country’s north.