Houthi attack targets another ship off Yemen’s remote Socotra island

Special Houthi attack targets another ship off Yemen’s remote Socotra island
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Houthi fighters march during a rally of support for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and against the US strikes on Yemen outside Sanaa on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024. (AP Photo)
Special Houthi attack targets another ship off Yemen’s remote Socotra island
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The attack happened in an area 246 nautical miles southeast of Nishtun, a coastal town in the government-controlled Yemeni province of Mahra, close to Socotra island. (X:@UKMTO)
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Updated 24 June 2024
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Houthi attack targets another ship off Yemen’s remote Socotra island

Houthi attack targets another ship off Yemen’s remote Socotra island
  • Campaigners urge UN and international community to do more to help free detained Yemeni civilians and halt militia’s campaign of torture and terror
  • Houthi abuses will continue unless punished, says rights activist as he calls on UN and donors to ‘face this escalation with strength’ and ‘take a stand’

AL-MUKALLA: The Houthis reportedly attacked another commercial ship in the Gulf of Aden on Monday, as the Yemeni militia appears to be stepping up attacks on vessels along key maritime routes.

The UK Maritime Trade Operations, an agency that tracks attacks on shipping, said it received an alert from a ship’s master about an explosion in “close proximity” to the ship. It happened in an area 246 nautical miles southeast of Nishtun, a coastal town in the government-controlled Yemeni province of Mahra, close to Yemen’s remote Socotra island.

“The crew are reported safe, and the vessel is proceeding to its next port of call,” the agency said.

It was the second incident in the area reported by the UKMTO in the space of 24 hours. The captain and crew of a vessel abandoned ship on Sunday after it was damaged and took on water about 96 nautical miles southeast of Nishtun, the agency said.

On Sunday, the Houthis claimed credit for two other strikes on commercial shipping. A vessel called the Transworld Navigator was attacked with an explosive-laden drone in the Red Sea, and another called the Stolt Sequoia was targeted with ballistic missiles in the Indian Ocean, Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Sarea said in a televised statement. He accused the owners of the ships of violating the militia’s ban on shipping to Israeli ports.

According to the Marine Traffic ship-tracking app, the Stolt Sequoia is a Liberian-flagged oil and chemical tanker traveling from Bahrain to France.

The US Central Command reported on Sunday night that the Houthis were thought to have used a drone to strike the Transworld Navigator, a Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned and operated bulk cargo ship traveling from Malaysia to Egypt.

“Today, at 4 a.m. (Sanaa time), the crew reported minor injuries and moderate damage to the ship, but the vessel has continued underway,” the US military said.

Since their attacks on shipping began in November, the Houthis have sunk two ships, seized one and fired hundreds of ballistic missiles, drones and remote-controlled, explosive-laden boats at commercial and naval vessels in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean in what they say is a campaign to put pressure on Israel to end its war in Gaza.

Yemenis have disputed the Houthi claims of support for the Palestinian people, accusing leaders of the militia of using the public outrage in Yemen over the killing of civilians in Gaza in an attempt to divert attention from their own internal problems, including growing public resentment over their failure to pay public-sector employees, and to recruit and rally the Yemeni public against opponents in Yemen.

Meanwhile, Yemenis from all sections of society and human rights organizations have launched an online campaign to draw global attention to the plight of dozens of Yemeni employees of the UN and other international organizations who are being held by the Houthis.

The militia abducted about 50 people in Sanaa this month, drawing widespread criticism from the UN as well as local and international rights groups.

In the online campaign, Yemenis call on the UN and the wider international community to take more action against the Houthis to secure the release of the detained workers, and to name and shame the militia for torturing and terrorizing the Yemeni people.

“This silence on their misdeeds serves as an indirect justification for them. The UN must take a stronger stand and compel them to end their crimes against humanity and free all abductees promptly and unconditionally.”

Yemeni human rights activist Riyadh Aldubai urged the UN and international donors to condemn the Houthi crackdown on Yemeni workers and relocate their agencies’ offices to government-controlled Aden, warning that the Houthis will continue their rights abuses if not punished.

“UN and donors must face this escalation with strength. Condemn the abductions, enforce strict measures, and relocate operations to reduce Houthi control. It’s time to take a stand,” he said in a message on X.


Police: Canadian citizen attempts stabbing attack in southern Israel, was 'neutralized'

Police: Canadian citizen attempts stabbing attack in southern Israel, was 'neutralized'
Updated 10 sec ago
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Police: Canadian citizen attempts stabbing attack in southern Israel, was 'neutralized'

Police: Canadian citizen attempts stabbing attack in southern Israel, was 'neutralized'

Houthi harbor still ablaze days after Israel strikes on Yemen

Houthi harbor still ablaze days after Israel strikes on Yemen
Updated 47 min 55 sec ago
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Houthi harbor still ablaze days after Israel strikes on Yemen

Houthi harbor still ablaze days after Israel strikes on Yemen
  • Hodeidah port is a vital entry point for fuel imports and international aid for Houthi-held areas of Yemen, a country where the United Nations says more than half the population relies on humanitarian assistance

HODEIDAH: Firefighting teams on Monday were struggling to contain a massive blaze at Yemen’s Hodeida port, days after a deadly Israeli strike hit oil tanks and a power plant in the harbor.
Heavy flames and black smoke were seen spiralling into the sky for a third consecutive day following the strike on Saturday, said an AFP correspondent in Hodeidah.
Firefighting teams appear to have made little progress, with the blaze seemingly expanding in some parts of the port, the correspondent said, amid fears it could reach food storage facilities.
High-resolution satellite images taken by Maxar Technologies showed flames consuming a heavily damaged fuel storage area at the Hodeidah harbor.
The fuel depot is run by the Yemen Petroleum Company which said late Sunday that the six people killed in the Israel strike were its employees.
The Houthis say more than 80 others were wounded in the attack, many of them with severe burns.
With black smoke billowing overhead, a funeral ceremony was held Monday for the victims of the strikes.
Their coffins were carried through the streets of Hodeidah, flanked by crowds and led by a Houthi marching band.
The strike on Saturday was the first by Israel on the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest country and came in response to a Houthi drone strike that breached Israel’s air defenses, killing one person in Tel Aviv the day before.
The Houthis, who are fighting Israel, have pledged a “huge” response to the strikes and threatened to once again attack Tel Aviv.
Yemeni port authorities said Hodeidah “is operating at its full capacity,” according to the rebels’ Saba news agency.
“We are working around the clock to receive all ships and there is no concern about the supply chain and supplies of food, medicine, and oil derivatives,” port official Nasr Al-Nusairi was quoted by Saba as saying on Sunday.
But the US-based Navanti Group said the strikes on Hodeidah destroyed five cranes and reduced the port’s fuel storage capacity from 150,000 to 50,000 tons.
Hodeidah port is a vital entry point for fuel imports and international aid for Houthi-held areas of Yemen, a country where the United Nations says more than half the population relies on humanitarian assistance.
“Hodeidah port is a vital lifeline for delivering humanitarian aid to Yemen,” the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said in an emailed statement to AFP.
“Any impact on this infrastructure jeopardizes the entry of essential goods and hampers aid efforts.”


UAE jails 57 Bangladeshis, including 3 for life, over riots

UAE jails 57 Bangladeshis, including 3 for life, over riots
Updated 10 min 46 sec ago
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UAE jails 57 Bangladeshis, including 3 for life, over riots

UAE jails 57 Bangladeshis, including 3 for life, over riots
  • Life imprisonment handed to three people who called for the demonstrations to pressure their home government
  • The remaining 53 defendants received 10-year prison terms

ABU DHABI: The UAE has imprisoned 57 Bangladeshis, including 3 for life, for inciting riots on Friday in several streets across the country, state news agency WAM reported.

The Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal handed the life imprisonment terms to three people who called for the demonstrations to pressure their home government.

The remaining 53 defendants received 10-year prison terms, with one, who entered the country illegally and took part in the riot, being sentenced to 11 years.

The Bangladeshi nationals will be deported after serving their sentences, WAM reported.

On Friday, UAE Attorney-General Hamad Saif Al-Shamsi ordered an investigation into the arrest of several Bangladeshi nationals who were apprehended for inciting riots against their home country, which has been struggling to quell violent student-led protests over a controversial job quota scheme.

The investigation, led by a team of 30, confirmed the defendants’ involvement in assembling in public spaces, “inciting unrest, disrupting public security, and promoting such gatherings and protests,” WAM said.

They recorded and published audiovisual footage of their actions online. A court witness during the trial said that demonstrators did not respond to a police warning to disperse, according to WAM.

The witness confirmed that the defendants gathered and organised large-scale marches in several streets across the UAE in protest against decisions made by the Bangladeshi government.

Several of the defendants confessed to the crimes with which they were accused.


Israel orders evacuation of part of Gaza humanitarian zone, kills 16

Israel orders evacuation of part of Gaza humanitarian zone, kills 16
Updated 31 min 38 sec ago
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Israel orders evacuation of part of Gaza humanitarian zone, kills 16

Israel orders evacuation of part of Gaza humanitarian zone, kills 16
  • The military said it is planning to begin an operation against Hamas militants who have embedded themselves in the area
  • The area includes the eastern part of the Muwasi humanitarian zone, which is located in the southern Gaza Strip.

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip: Israeli tank shelling and airstrikes killed at least 16 Palestinians near Khan Younis, Gaza medics said on Monday, after Israel issued new orders to evacuate some neighborhoods following what it said were renewed attacks from those areas.
To facilitate evacuations, the military said, it was adjusting the boundaries of a humanitarian zone in Al-Mawasi to keep the civilian population away from areas of combat with Hamas-led Palestinian militants.
Palestinian health officials said at least 16 Palestinians were killed by Israeli tank salvoes in the town of Bani Suhaila just east of the southern city of Khan Younis, with the area also bombarded by air.
The Gaza health ministry said the dead included six children and four women. It added that dozens of others were wounded by Israeli fire. Hamas media put the number of the dead at 26.
The military statement said the new orders were due to renewed Palestinian militant attacks, including rockets launched from the targeted areas in eastern Khan Younis. The evacuation orders did not include health institutions, Palestinians said.
The Palestinians, the United Nations and international relief agencies have said there is no safe place left in Gaza. Earlier in July, dozens of Palestinians were killed in separate Israeli attacks in the humanitarian-designated Al-Mawasi area.
Israel said the attacks were aimed at armed militants, including some top Hamas military commanders. Palestinian officials called those allegations false and said they were used to justify the attacks.
Later on Monday, health officials at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis urged residents to donate blood because of the large number of casualties being rushed into the medical center.
Reuters footage showed casualties, including some women and children, arriving at Nasser Hospital in ambulances and others in private cars.
“A family, including children, were all torn to pieces while they were sleeping,” said a man who arrived in an ambulance bearing the bodies.
The Palestinian Civil Emergency Service said it had reports of dozens of people killed by Israeli aerial and tank fire on the eastern outskirts of Khan Younis but teams could not reach them because of the intensity of the bombardment.
Meanwhile, the Israeli military carried out air strikes on two houses in the Al-Bureij and Deir Al-Balah areas of the central Gaza Strip, wounding several people, medics said.
Another air strike in Gaza City in the north of the densely populated enclave killed two other Palestinians, they added.
Israel vowed to eradicate Hamas after militants killed 1,200 people and took more than 250 hostages in a cross-border assault on Oct. 7 last year, according to Israeli tallies. At least 38,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s retaliatory offensive since then, Gaza health authorities say.
A ceasefire effort led by Qatar and Egypt and backed by the United States has so far fallen short because of disagreements over terms between the combatants, who blame each other for the impasse.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday ordered a delegation charged with negotiating a hostage deal to be dispatched on Thursday, his office said, without giving the delegation’s destination.
Netanyahu held a meeting on Sunday with the delegation and senior members of Israel’s defense establishment, it said.


Israel’s Netanyahu walks political tightrope on Washington trip following Biden’s exit from race

Israel’s Netanyahu walks political tightrope on Washington trip following Biden’s exit from race
Updated 22 July 2024
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Israel’s Netanyahu walks political tightrope on Washington trip following Biden’s exit from race

Israel’s Netanyahu walks political tightrope on Washington trip following Biden’s exit from race
  • Some Democrats will likely demonstrate their anger toward Biden and Netanyahu by skipping Wednesday’s speech

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads to Washington on Monday, leaving behind a brutal war to make a politically precarious speech before Congress at a time of great uncertainty following Joe Biden’s withdrawal from the presidential race.
With efforts ongoing to bring about a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, rising concerns about the war spreading to Lebanon and Yemen, and the US in the midst of a dizzying election campaign, Netanyahu’s speech has the potential to cause disarray on both sides of the ocean.
The risks only increased with Biden’s decision Sunday to drop out of the race for president, especially since the choice of a replacement Democratic nominee — and the potential next American leader — are still up in the air.
A person familiar with Biden’s schedule confirmed Sunday that the president will host Netanyahu at the White House. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly, said the exact timing of the meeting has not been established because Biden is recovering from COVID-19.
Netanyahu is scheduled to address Congress on Wednesday. He is also expected to meet with Vice President Kamala Harris, who is seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
An official in Netanyahu’s office confirmed that the Israeli leader was set to travel to Washington on Monday. The official also spoke on condition of anonymity pending a formal announcement.
Netanyahu will deliver his congressional address with an eye on several audiences: his ultranationalist governing partners, the key to his political survival; the Biden administration, which Netanyahu counts on for diplomatic and military support; and Donald Trump’s Republican Party, which could offer Netanyahu a reset in relations if he is reelected in November.
His words risk angering any one of those constituencies, which the Israeli leader cannot afford if he hopes to hold on to his tenuous grip on power.
“There are a few land mines and pitfalls on this trip,” Eytan Gilboa, an expert on US-Israel relations at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, said before Biden’s withdrawal. “He is thought of as a political wizard who knows how to escape from traps. I am not sure he still knows how to do that.”
It is Netanyahu’s fourth speech to Congress — more than any other world leader. During his address, his far-right governing partners will want to hear his resolve to continue the war and topple Hamas.
The Biden administration will look for progress toward the latest US-backed ceasefire proposal and details on a postwar vision. Republicans hope Netanyahu besmirches Biden and bolsters the GOP’s hoped-for perception as Israel’s stalwart supporter.
Upon receiving the invitation, Netanyahu said he would “present the truth about our just war against those who seek to destroy us.”
The war, which was sparked by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, has tested Israel’s ties with its top ally as never before.
The Biden administration has stood staunchly beside Israel. But it has grown increasingly alarmed about the conduct of the Israeli military, the continued difficulties of getting humanitarian aid into Gaza, especially after the short-lived US military pier off Gaza coast, as well as Israel’s lack of postwar plans and the harm to civilians in Gaza. Similar concerns will likely persist if Americans elect a new Democratic president.
Biden earlier this year froze the delivery of certain bombs over fears they would be used in Israel’s incursion into the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which at the time sheltered more than half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million.
The US abstained from a United Nations Security Council vote in March that called for a ceasefire and the release of hostages but did not link the two. Netanyahu called the decision a “retreat” from a “principled position” by Israel’s ally.
Biden has had to walk a fine line of his own. He has faced harsh criticism from progressive Democrats and many Arab Americans. Even Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the highest-ranking elected US Jewish official, lambasted Netanyahu in March for his handling of the war.
Some Democrats will likely demonstrate their anger toward Biden and Netanyahu by skipping Wednesday’s speech. Netanyahu is also likely to be hounded by pro-Palestinian activists during his trip.
The last time Netanyahu spoke to Congress in 2015 was at the invitation of the Republican Party. The trip drove Israeli-American politics deep into the partisan divide as Netanyahu railed against then-President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal.
Netanyahu has not shied away from making Israel a partisan issue. With his nationalist conservative ideology, he has been perceived as throwing his support behind Republican candidates in the past, rankling Democrats and Israelis who want to keep the US-Israel relationship bipartisan.
It’s unclear if he will meet Trump. If there is a meeting, it could expose Netanyahu to accusations that he is once again taking sides. But if he doesn’t meet with Trump, the former president could feel slighted.
The speech also offers Netanyahu opportunity. He will be able to show Israelis that despite the tensions with the Biden administration, US support for him remains ironclad.
“He wants the Israeli public to believe that he is very much still very welcome in the United States. And this shows that the American people are with him,” said David Makovsky, director of the program on Arab-Israel Relations at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
For critics of Netanyahu, that embrace is unacceptable and grants legitimacy to a deeply polarizing leader whose public support has plummeted. Netanyahu faces widespread protests and calls to resign over the failures of Oct. 7 and his handling of the war.
In a letter to Congress, 500 Israeli writers, scholars and public figures expressed their dismay over the invitation to Netanyahu, saying he will use the platform to advance misguided policies that align with his far-right governing partners.
“His only interest is preserving his own power,” they wrote. “Does the United States Congress wish to support such a model of cynical and manipulative leadership in these times?”
Israeli media reported that Netanyahu will be joined by rescued hostage Noa Argamani and her father. But for many of the families of hostages held in Gaza, the trip is an affront.
“This is not the time for trips,” Ayelet Levy Shachar, whose daughter Naama was kidnapped on Oct. 7, told reporters.
“Netanyahu: First a deal, then you can travel.”