Yemen’s Houthis attack ship in Indian Ocean

Special Yemen’s Houthis attack ship in Indian Ocean
UKMTO said that the vessel and its crew were safe. (X:@UKMTO)
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Updated 09 July 2024

Yemen’s Houthis attack ship in Indian Ocean

Yemen’s Houthis attack ship in Indian Ocean
  • The incident, 180 nautical miles east of Nishtun, follows more than a week without any reported assaults by the militia on vessels in international waters
  • The Houthis also cancel a Yemenia Airways flight from Sanaa to Amman, blaming ‘aggression’ by the Yemeni government

AL-MUKALLA: A commercial ship off the east coast of Yemen was targeted on Tuesday by an attack believed to have been carried out by the Houthis, according to a British maritime agency that tracks assaults on vessels. It marked the end of more than a week without any reported assaults by the militia on ships in international shipping lanes.

United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations said the captain of a commercial ship reported an incident 180 nautical miles east of Nishtun, a town in Yemen’s eastern Al-Mahra province.

“The master of a merchant vessel reports an explosion in close proximity to the vessel. Vessel and all crew are safe. The vessel is proceeding to its next port of call,” the organization said.

The most recent confirmed Houthi strike in waters off Yemen’s coast before this was on June 28, near the western province of Hodeidah. Since launching its campaign targeting international shipping in November, the Houthis have attacked vessels in the Red Sea and other waters using hundreds of ballistic missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and explosive-laden drone boats. They stepped up attacks in June, with almost daily strikes on commercial and naval ships in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

The militia say they are acting in support of the Palestinian people, to compel Israeli authorities to halt their military operations in the Gaza Strip. But critics say the Houthis are using outrage in Yemen over Israel’s actions in Gaza as a rationale for the resumption their war in Yemen, and as an excuse to attack ships in an attempt to boost public support, recruit more fighters, and distract from their failures to address crumbling public services and pay public-sector workers.

In recent statements, Houthi spokesperson Yahya Sarea said the group was working with an Iraqi militia to organize coordinated operations against Israeli targets and ships in international waters that were not validated by marine agencies. On Monday, he said the militia and the Islamic Resistance in Iraq were responsible for a drone attack on “a vital location” in the Israeli port city of Eilat.

Meanwhile, the Houthis canceled a Yemenia Airways flight from Sanaa to Amman on Monday, angering passengers who had booked tickets. The Houthis justified their decision by blaming “aggression” by authorities in refusing to agree to the militia’s demands that the airline schedule flights from Sanaa to additional destinations, including Cairo and India.

The Houthis recently took control of four Yemenia aircraft at Sanaa airport and prevented them from flying to Saudi Arabia to bring home hundreds of Yemeni pilgrims. A Yemeni government official told Arab News on Tuesday that the militia are trying to put pressure on the government to add flights to new destinations in return for the release of the seized aircraft.

The Houthis also oppose a Yemeni government plan to relocate the country’s Civil Aviation and Meteorology Authority from Sanaa to Aden, which would deprive the militia of a key source of revenue and the ability to regulate aircraft operations.

“They now aim to enforce a fait accompli by establishing new destinations and halting any efforts to relocate the navigational meteorological center from Sanaa to Aden,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

The most recent draft of a UN-brokered peace agreement includes a pledge by the Yemeni government to authorize additional Yemenia routes from Sanaa in return for a Houthi agreement to lift their siege on Taiz.

Israeli police kill car-ramming suspect after pedestrians injured

Israeli police kill car-ramming suspect after pedestrians injured
Updated 4 sec ago

Israeli police kill car-ramming suspect after pedestrians injured

Israeli police kill car-ramming suspect after pedestrians injured
JERUSALEM: Israeli police shot dead a car driver supected of ramming into pedestrians waiting at a bus stop in a town on Sunday and injured four people, a spokesman said.
Police called it a “suspected terrorist attack” and said the driver had been “neutralized” during the incident at Nir Tzvi near the city of Lod, in central Israel.
Video footage widely shared on social media and broadcast on Israeli television showed a white car on the pavement next to a bus shelter and uniformed men firing at the car. Traffic is halted on the major highway.
The four wounded were taken to hospital. Paramedics said two of the injured were in a serious condition, with police saying one of the victims was in a “critical” state.
In a statement released by a first aid group, the paramedic Michelle Rashkovski said, “When we arrived at the scene, we saw a vehicle that had hit pedestrians stopped at a bus shelter. We immediately called additional forces to the scene.”

UAE appoints Hamdan bin Mohammed as deputy PM in cabinet reshuffle

UAE appoints Hamdan bin Mohammed as deputy PM in cabinet reshuffle
Updated 14 July 2024

UAE appoints Hamdan bin Mohammed as deputy PM in cabinet reshuffle

UAE appoints Hamdan bin Mohammed as deputy PM in cabinet reshuffle

DUBAI: The UAE has announced a cabinet reshuffle that includes the appointment of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum as minister of defense and deputy prime minister, Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, said on X on Sunday.

“Sheikh Hamdan is a leader who loves his people and his people love him. We have immense confidence that he will be a great addition to the UAE government and a major contributor to shaping the country’s future,” Sheikh Mohammed said on X.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan has also been named a deputy prime minister while he retains his role as minister of foreign affairs.

Other major appointments included naming Sarah Al-Amiri as Minister of Education; Ahmed Belhoul as Minister of Sports; Abdul Rahman Al-Awar as acting minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research; and Alia Al-Mazroui as Minister of State for Entrepreneurship. 


EU naval mission says it destroyed aerial drone in Gulf of Aden

EU naval mission says it destroyed aerial drone in Gulf of Aden
Updated 14 July 2024

EU naval mission says it destroyed aerial drone in Gulf of Aden

EU naval mission says it destroyed aerial drone in Gulf of Aden

ATHENS: The EU naval mission protecting ships crossing the Red Sea said that its frigate Psara had destroyed an unmanned aerial drone in the Gulf of Aden on Sunday.
The Aspides mission began in February in response to drone and missile attacks by Iranian-aligned Houthi militants on vessels in the region. The Houthis describe the attacks as acts of solidarity with Palestinians in Israel’s war in Gaza.
Other countries, including the United States, also have naval forces operating in the area.

Hamas says it has not withdrawn from ceasefire talks after latest Israeli attacks

Hamas says it has not withdrawn from ceasefire talks after latest Israeli attacks
Updated 44 min 43 sec ago

Hamas says it has not withdrawn from ceasefire talks after latest Israeli attacks

Hamas says it has not withdrawn from ceasefire talks after latest Israeli attacks
  • Senior Hamas official tells AFP group has withdrawn from Gaza ceasefire talks because of Israeli “massacres”
  • Another Hamas official confirms Gaza ceasefire talks are still on
  • Militant group says leader Mohammed Deif is ‘fine’ after Israeli strike

GAZA STRIP: Hamas has not withdrawn from ceasefire talks after this weekend's deadly Israeli attacks in Gaza, one of the group's senior officials said on Sunday.
The statement from Izzat El-Reshiq, a member of the political office of Hamas, also accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of trying to derail efforts by Arab mediators and the United States to reach a ceasefire deal, according to Reuters.
The escalation in attacks by Netanyahu and his government aims to thwart efforts to end conflict, Reshiq said.
Conflicting reports emerged earlier on Sunday when a senior Hamas official told AFP Sunday that the Palestinian militant group has withdrawn from talks on a ceasefire in the Gaza war because of Israeli “massacres” and its attitude in negotiations.
Another Hamas official said the group’s military leader Mohammed Deif was “fine” and working despite Israel’s huge bomb attack on a southern Gaza camp that it said targeted the wanted Hamas commander.
Gaza’s health ministry said the attack left 92 dead.

The senior official quoted by AFP said Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh told international mediators Qatar and Egypt of the end of the talks on a ceasefire plan first outlined by US President Joe Biden in May.

Haniyeh said Hamas would “halt negotiations due to the occupation’s (Israel) lack of seriousness, continued policy of procrastination and obstruction, and the ongoing massacres against unarmed civilians,” according to the official.
“Hamas has shown great flexibility to reach an agreement and end the aggression and is ready to resume negotiations when the occupation government demonstrates seriousness in reaching a ceasefire agreement and a prisoner exchange deal.

However, two Egyptian security sources at ceasefire talks in Doha and Cairo said on Saturday that negotiations had been halted after three days of intense talks.

The first phase of the deal would have seen a six-week ceasefire with the exchange of most hostages taken in Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Haniyeh said in a statement late Saturday that he had called the mediators and other countries to urge them to put pressure on Israel to halt the attacks.
Israel said Deif, who it considers one of the “masterminds” of the October 7 attacks, was the target of the strikes on the Al-Mawasi camp in southern Gaza where tens of thousands of displaced Palestinians from other districts have gathered.
But Hamas, without confirming that Deif was at the camp, said he was alive and working.
“Commander Mohammed Deif is well and directly overseeing Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades and resistance operations,” the official said, referring to Hamas’s armed wing.
The October 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel resulted in the deaths of 1,195 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.
The militants also seized 251 hostages, 116 of whom remain in Gaza, including 42 the military says are dead.
Israel has responded with a military offensive that has killed at least 38,443 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to figures from the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

At least 90 Palestinians killed, Gaza officials say, as Israel targets Hamas military chief

At least 90 Palestinians killed, Gaza officials say, as Israel targets Hamas military chief
Updated 14 July 2024

At least 90 Palestinians killed, Gaza officials say, as Israel targets Hamas military chief

At least 90 Palestinians killed, Gaza officials say, as Israel targets Hamas military chief
  • Hamas says Israel’s claims it targeted its leaders are false, aimed at justifying attack
  • Many wounded in strike, including women and children, taken to Nasser Hospital

GAZA: An Israeli airstrike killed at least 90 Palestinians in a designated humanitarian zone in Gaza on Saturday, the enclave’s health ministry said, in an attack that Israel said targeted Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif.
It was unclear whether Deif was killed. “We are still checking and verifying the results of the strike,” an Israeli military official told reporters.
The militant Islamist group Hamas said in a statement that Israeli claims it had targeted leaders of the group were false and aimed at justifying the attack, which was the deadliest Israeli attack in Gaza in weeks.
Displaced people sheltering in the area said their tents were torn down by the force of the strike, describing bodies and body parts strewn on the ground.
“I couldn’t even tell where I was or what was happening,” said Sheikh Youssef, a resident of Gaza City who is currently displaced in the Al-Mawasi area.
“I left the tent and looked around, all the tents were knocked down, body parts, bodies everywhere, elderly women thrown on the floor, young children in pieces,” he told Reuters.
The Israeli military said the strike against Deif also targeted Rafa Salama, the commander of Hamas’ Khan Younis Brigade, describing them as two of the masterminds of the Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel that triggered the nine-month war in Gaza.
Deif has survived seven Israeli assassination attempts, the most recent in 2021 and has topped Israel’s most wanted list for decades, held responsible for the deaths of dozens of Israelis in suicide bombings.
The Gaza health ministry said at least 91 Palestinians were killed in the strike and 300 were injured, the deadliest toll in weeks in the conflict-shattered enclave.
Al-Mawasi is a designated humanitarian area that the Israeli army has repeatedly urged Palestinians to head to after issuing evacuation orders from other areas.
Reuters footage showed ambulances racing toward the area amidst clouds of smoke and dust. Displaced people, including women and children, were fleeing in panic, some holding belongings in their hands.
The Israeli military published an aerial photo of the site, which Reuters was not immediately able to verify, where it said “terrorists hid among civilians.”
“The location of the strike was an open area surrounded by trees, several buildings, and sheds,” it said in a statement.
The Israeli military official said the area was not a tent complex, but an operational compound run by Hamas and that several more militants were there, guarding Deif.

Many of those wounded in the strike, including women and children, were taken to the nearby Nasser Hospital, which hospital officials said had been overwhelmed and was “no longer able to function” due to the intensity of the Israeli offensive and an acute shortage of medical supplies.
“The hospital is full of patients, it’s full of wounded, we can’t find beds for people,” said Atef Al-Hout, director of the hospital, adding that it was the only one still operating in southern Gaza.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant was holding special consultations, his office said, in light of “developments in Gaza.”
It was unclear how the strike would affect ceasefire talks underway in Doha and Cairo.
“Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s not good. I don’t know about Mohammed Deif, I know that keeping the war is bad for all of us,” said Ayala Metzger, the daughter-in-law of an Israeli hostage who was taking part in a hostage solidarity march just outside Jerusalem on Saturday.
“We need to bring the hostages back,” she told Reuters.
“If (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu killed Mohammed Deif then he has his picture of victory so bring them back now.”
Separately on Saturday, at least 20 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli attack on a prayer hall at a Gaza camp for displaced people in west Gaza City, Palestinian health and civil emergency officials said.
A senior Hamas official did not confirm whether Deif had been present in the attack on Khan Younis and called the Israeli allegations “nonsense.”
“All the martyrs are civilians and what happened was a grave escalation of the war of genocide, backed by the American support and world silence,” Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters, adding the strike showed Israel was not interested in reaching a ceasefire deal.
Critics have accused Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians, which Israel denies. It characterises its actions as self-defense to prevent another attack like Oct. 7, though the International Court of Justice ordered Israel in January to take action to prevent acts of genocide.
Hamas-led militants killed 1,200 people and took more than 250 hostages in the cross-border raid into southern Israel on Oct. 7, according to Israeli tallies.
Israel has retaliated with its military action in Gaza that has killed more than 38,000 Palestinians, medical authorities in Gaza say.
Witnesses said the Khan Younis attack came as a surprise as the area had been calm, adding more than one missile had been fired. Some of the wounded who were being evacuated were rescue workers, they said.
“They’re all gone, my whole family’s gone ... where are my brothers? They’re all gone, they’re all gone. There’s no one left,” said one tearful woman, who did not give her name.
Rising up the Hamas ranks over 30 years, Deif developed the group’s network of tunnels and its bomb-making expertise, Hamas sources say.
In March, Israel said it killed Deif’s deputy, Marwan Issa. Hamas has not confirmed or denied his death.