Houthis resort to new tricks to bluff Yemenis

Updated 20 March 2016

Houthis resort to new tricks to bluff Yemenis

RIYADH: Houthi rebels and their cohorts have added another trick to their repertoire of strategies to gain the upper hand in Yemen.

They have reportedly removed the stickers on Saudi food aid bearing the name King Salman Center for Humanitarian Relief Aid (KSCHRA), replacing it with their own logo and slogan.
“They do this before the food from Saudi Arabia is transported by cars to Saada,” Yemeni sources told an online publication.
The Houthi rebels have done this despite the fact that the Kingdom has announced that it will scale down its military campaign in Yemen.
Asked what could be the reason for this, the sources said, “They want to deceive the Yemeni people in Saada. It’s a last-minute effort for them to gain the upper hand in the conflict.”
They said that the Houthis and their cohorts want to make themselves look good in the eyes of Yemenis in Saada in particular, and the world in general.
Saada, which borders the Kingdom, is a stronghold of the Houthis from where they have fired mortar and rocket salvos to Saudi Arabia.
But the sources said they believe that the Houthi rebels are losing the battle despite their claims to the contrary.
They also expressed happiness that despite the announced scaling down of operations by the Saudi-led coalition, the KSCHRA continues its relief efforts for Yemenis displaced by the war.
“Aside from supporting the legitimate government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the KSCHRA has also sent medical supplies to the Province of Saada,” the sources said.
They said that the people of the province recently received 220 tons of food, medicine, medical supplies, among others.
“The assistance will go a long way in helping the people of the province who have been suffering from the war,” they said.

Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

Updated 26 min 46 sec ago

Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

  • Curfew to be eased on Sunday, except in Makkah, as domestic travel permitted
  • All curfews in Saudi Arabia to be lifted by June 20

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced the easing of restrictions that has halted much of the activity in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Sunday 31, May, the curfew on all areas of the Kingdom will be eased, except Makkah. Movement in cities and within the regions of the country will again be permitted, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The easing will mean the Kingdom’s 24-hour lockdown is relaxed with a curfew from 3 p.m to 6 a.m until Sunday, after which the hours will change to 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.. Makkah will remain under a full 24-hour lockdown.

On June 21, all curfews in the Kingdom will be lifted and prayers at Makkah’s mosque will be permitted.

Before then, social distancing guidelines must continue to be adhered to and gatherings of more than 50 people will continue to be banned.

Authorities have also allowed the attendance at ministries, government agencies and private sector companies, and the return of their office activities.

Some economic and commercial activities will also be allowed to take place including those at wholesale and retail shops, as well as malls. Cafes will be permitted to operate once more.

However, all job sectors where social distancing rules are harder to achieve such as beauty salons, barbershops, sports and health clubs, recreational centers and cinemas will remain closed.

Umrah pilgrimage and international flights will continue to be suspended until further notice.

The new rules are subject to constant evaluation at the health ministry and can be changed if the situation warrants it.

Earlier, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, the health minister, said: “The phases start gradually until we return to normalcy, with its new concept based on social distancing.” 

He added that the precautionary steps taken by the Kingdom early in the outbreak helped to limit the spread of the virus. 

Now, he said, the ministry has developed a plan for the next phase that relies on two main factors: The capacity of the health care system to cope with critical cases, and the expansion of testing to identify new infections as soon as possible.

Reassuring the Saudi nation on Monday, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “The bad conditions will pass, God willing, and we are heading toward the good, God willing.” 

The Kingdom recorded 2,235 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, taking the total to 74,795, and the death toll rose by nine to 399. Worldwide the virus has infected more than 5.5 million people and killed nearly 350,000.