Yemen govt forces battle Houthis on two fronts

A Yemeni fighter loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi stands guard next to a pick up truck near Kahbub, on a mountainous area overlooking the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait at the entrance to the Red Sea, on Sept. 15, 2016. Yemeni pro-government forces battled Shiite Houthi rebels on two fronts Saturday, including east of Taiz where they are struggling to break a siege of the southwestern city. (AFP / NABIL HASSAN)
Updated 17 September 2016

Yemen govt forces battle Houthis on two fronts

ADEN, Yemen: Yemeni pro-government forces battled Shiite Houthi rebels on two fronts Saturday, including east of Taiz where they are struggling to break a siege of the southwestern city, military sources said.
“Five rebels and one of our soldiers were killed in the fighting” near Taiz, a local pro-government commander, Fadl Hassan, told AFP.
He said loyalist forces drove rebels and their allies from five hills in the Sharija region on the borders of Taiz and Lahj provinces.
“We are trying to break the siege (imposed by rebels) of Taiz,” Hassan said, adding that pro-government forces launched the operation from the eastern side of the city.
Forces loyal to the embattled government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi have struggled since the end of August to break the siege of Taiz which the rebels have surrounded for more than a year.
Pro-government forces also clashed with rebels east of the Yemeni capital, with fighting concentrated in the strategic Sarwah region leading to Sanaa, military sources said.
The Houthis, who seized Sanaa two years ago, were putting up fierce resistance despite also coming under attack from Saudi-led coalition air strikes, the sources added.
Witnesses also reported air strikes targeting rebel positions in Nahm northeast of Sanaa, and in the coastal city of Hodeida to the west.
The coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to help shore up Hadi’s government.
The conflict has since killed more than 6,600 people, most of them civilians, and displaced at least three million, the United Nations says.
Fighting intensified after the collapse in early August of UN-mediated peace talks held in Kuwait.


Israeli PM: Palestinians in Jordan Valley won’t be citizens

Updated 28 min 21 sec ago

Israeli PM: Palestinians in Jordan Valley won’t be citizens

  • Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead with plans to annex the Jordan Valley

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley will remain in what he described as an “enclave” after Israel annexes the territory and will not be granted Israeli citizenship.
Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead with plans to annex the Jordan Valley and Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, in line with President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan, a process that could begin as early as July 1.
The annexation of the Jordan Valley and the far-flung settlements would make it virtually impossible to create a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel, which is still widely seen as the only way to resolve the decades-old conflict.
In an interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper, Netanyahu said Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, including residents of the city of Jericho, would remain under limited Palestinian self-rule, with Israel having overall security control.
“They will remain a Palestinian enclave,” he said. “You’re not annexing Jericho. There’s a cluster or two. You don’t need to apply sovereignty over them. They will remain Palestinian subjects, if you will. But security control also applies to these places.”
Palestinians in the West Bank have lived under Israeli military rule since the 1967 war, when Israel captured the territory, along with east Jerusalem and Gaza. The Palestinians want all three territories to form their future state.
The Trump plan would grant the Palestinians limited statehood over scattered enclaves surrounded by Israel if they meet a long list of conditions. Israel has embraced the plan, while the Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the West Bank, has angrily rejected it and cut ties with the US and Israel.
Netanyahu said that if the Palestinians accept all the conditions in the plan, including Israel maintaining overall security control, “then they will have an entity of their own that President Trump defines as a state.”
Under a coalition agreement reached last month, Netanyahu can bring his annexation plans before the government as early as July 1.
The Palestinian Authority has said it is no longer bound by any agreements signed with Israel and the US, and says it has cut off security coordination with Israel. Neighboring Jordan, a close Western ally and one of only two Arab states to have made peace with Israel, has warned of a “massive conflict” if Israel proceeds with annexation.