Posts Tagged ‘Houthi’

Yemen pro-govt forces seize Hodeida airport from rebels

June 20, 2018

Emitari-backed Yemeni government forces seized Hodeida airport from Huthi rebels on Wednesday, the coalition said, in a major step towards retaking the key Red Sea port city.

“The airport was completely cleared, Thank God, and is under control,” coalition commander for the Red Sea coast, Abdul Salaam al-Shehi, said in a video posted by the United Arab Emirates’ official WAM news agency.

Last Wednesday, government forces launched an offensive to clear Hodeida of rebel fighters who have held it since 2014, raising UN concerns for vital aid shipments and commercial food imports through the city’s docks.

© AFP | Emitari-backed Yemeni government forces advance into Hodeida airport on June 19, 2018 in a major step towards recapturing the strategic Red Sea port city from Shiite rebels. .UAE-backed Yemeni government forces fought their way into Hodeida airport today, pressing an offensive that has seen some of the most intense fighting of a three-year war against Shiite Huthi rebels.

The airport is disused but housed a major rebel base just inland from the coast road into the city from the south.

It lies just eight kilometres (five miles) from the city’s port, through which three-quarters of Yemen’s imports pass, providing a lifeline for some 22 million people dependent on aid.

UN envoy Martin Griffiths held four days of talks in the rebel-held capital Sanaa in a bid to avert an all-out battle for the city but flew out on Tuesday without announcing any breakthrough.

The United Arab Emirates and other members of a Saudi-led coalition that intervened in support of the government in 2015 have accused regional arch foe Iran of using Hodeida as conduit for arms smuggling to the rebels. Tehran has denied the allegation.

AFP

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UAE’s Gargash: Arab coalition’s full control of Hodeidah only a matter of time

June 18, 2018

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-aligned Houthis for control of Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah will take a “calculated and gradual” approach to the battle, a senior United Arab Emirates official said on Monday.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said the military alliance led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE was taking into consideration a “fragile humanitarian situation,” avoiding civilian casualties in addition to military calculations.

Gargash, speaking to reporters in Dubai, estimated the number of Houthi fighters in Hodeidah at between 2,000 to 3,000. He declined to reveal the size of coalition forces but said they had “numerical superiority.”

He said that the Arab coalition’s full control of Hodeidah only a matter of time.

This image grab taken from a AFPTV video shows Yemeni pro-government forces firing a heavy machine gun at the south of Hodeida airport. (AFP)

Gargash added that the Hodeidah port is a “major artery” for weapons smuggling from Iran to the Houthis.

“The liberation of Hodeidah is a major step in freeing Sanaa,” the UAE minister said, adding that “the roads leading to the port are filled with mines.”

France is said to be helping the Arab coalition in demining the roads.

“We have opened the road from Hodeidah to Sanaa to allow the militias to flee without resistance,” Gargash said.

The UN envoy for Yemen carried a plan to halt fighting around the key aid port of Hodeidah where Houthi militia have been battling a regional coalition as he arrived Saturday in the militia-held capital Sanaa for emergency talks.

Martin Griffiths was expected to propose to militia leaders that they cede control of the Red Sea port to a UN-supervised committee and halt heavy clashes against advancing government troops backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

(With AFP – Reuters)

Arab News

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1323291/middle-east

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Yemen army offers safe routes for Hodeidah civilians — Iran looms large

June 18, 2018

“Unless they get the green light from their leaders in Iran they will never give up their weapons or surrender in peace and spare the innocent citizens in Hodeidah and the rest of the Yemeni territories under their control their atrocities.”

Houthi militants willing to put down their weapons would also be given safe passage, the army said. — The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Sunday that nearly 5,000 families have been displaced from Hodeidah province this month.

Forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition pushed their offensive to recapture Hodeidah. (AFP)

The Yemeni army said on Sunday it was ready to open safe corridors for civilians who want to leave Hodeidah.

Houthi militants willing to put down their weapons would also be given safe passage, the army said.

Fighting continued to rage around Yemen’s largest port as forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition pushed their offensive to recapture the city. Coalition jets bombed the airport as pro-government forces moved closer to dislodging the militants.

The UAE, a main coalition partner, said the operation was designed to help the UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, to persuade the Houthis to withdraw.

“We are at a turning point, because as long as the Houthis hold Hodeidah, they will continue to impede the political process,” Anwar Gargash, the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, said on Twitter. “We firmly believe that the liberation of Hodeidah will pull the Houthis back to the negotiating table.”

The people of Hodeidah did not want to be governed by “Iranian backed religious extremists,” he said. “We will continue to focus on our two main goals: To protect the flow of humanitarian aid and to protect civilians.”

The Yemeni military said about 500 Houthis had been killed in the battle for Hodeidah, which is a crucial aid supply line, but also a conduit for supplies of Iranian arms to the militants.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Sunday that nearly 5,000 families have been displaced from Hodeidah province this month.

Yemeni government spokesperson Rajeh Badi told Arab News the Houthi militias understand only the language of force.

He said they were not optimistic about the outcome of talks between Griffiths and the Houthi leaders.

“Unless they get the green light from their leaders in Iran they will never give up their weapons or surrender in peace and spare the innocent citizens in Hodeidah and the rest of the Yemeni territories under their control their atrocities,” Badi said.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1323046/middle-east

Saudi-led coalition ‘frees’ Yemen’s Hodeidah airport, begins de-mining operations

June 16, 2018

Image result for Houthi, photos

Forces from the Arab Coalition entered the airport in Yemen’s main port city on Saturday, the coalition-backed Yemeni military said, in the biggest offensive of the coalition’s war against the Iran-aligned Houthis.

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Victory for the coalition in their first attempt to capture a strategic part of a well-defended city could put the Houthis in their weakest position since the conflict erupted three years ago.

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A defeat would also cut off supply lines to the Houthi-controlled capital, Sanaa, and possibly force the movement to negotiate.

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“Army forces backed by the resistance and the Arab coalition freed Hodeidah international airport from the grip of the Houthi militia,” the media office of the pro-alliance Yemeni military said on Twitter on Saturday.

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Troops have surrounded the main airport compound but have not seized it, a Yemeni military source and residents said.

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“We need some time to make sure there are no gunmen, mines or explosive in the building,” the military source said. The military’s media office said technical teams were de-mining the surrounding area.

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Fighting in the airport area led to the closure of the northern entrance of Hodeidah, which leads to Sanaa, residents said.

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That has blocked a key exit out of the city and made it more difficult to transport goods from the port, the country’s largest, to mountainous regions.

UN envoy lands in Hodeidah

The UN envoy for Yemen arrived in the militia-held capital Sanaa for talks on the key aid port.

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Martin Griffiths is expected to propose to militia leaders that they cede control of the Red Sea port to a UN-supervised committee to avoid further fighting with advancing government troops which are backed by the Arab coalition.

Seized entrance

Yemeni forces backed by Arab states seized the entrance to the airport in Yemen’s main port city on Friday, in an offensive against the Houthi militia.

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The swift advance was an important early success for the Yemeni forces, which launched the operation in Hodeidah four days ago and says it can liberate the city quickly enough to avoid interrupting aid to millions facing starvation.

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“We saw the resistance forces in the square at the northwestern entrance to the airport,” said a Hodeidah resident, referring to Yemeni allies of the coalition. Two Yemeni military officials allied to the coalition confirmed it.

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Yemeni forces tweeted that they had also seized the airport’s southern entrance, advancing down a main road toward the seaport.

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Residents in the city, controlled by the Houthis, said battles had been fought in the Manzar neighborhood, which abuts the wall surrounding the airport.

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“There have been terrifying bombing runs since the morning when they struck Houthi positions near the airport,” said fish vendor Ammar Ahmed.

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Apache attack helicopters hovered over Manzar, firing at Houthi snipers and fighters in schools and other buildings, said another Hodeidah resident, who asked not to be identified.

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Houthi militia had entered homes overlooking the main road to go onto the roofs. Dozens of Manzar residents fled to the city center on motorcycles, the resident said.

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Streets elsewhere in the city were empty despite the Eid holiday.

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“We are at the edges of the airport and are working to secure it now,” the Arab coalition said in a statement.

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“Operational priority is to avoid civilian casualties, maintain the flow of humanitarian aid, and allow for the UN to press the Houthis to evacuate the city.”

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“I urge all parties to the conflict to meet their obligations to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure and take active steps to respect international humanitarian law,” said David Beasley, executive director of the UN World Food Programme.

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Liberating Hodeidah would give the Arab coalition the upper hand in the war, which it has fought since 2015 to restore the internationally recognized government led by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. But a successful operation would require swiftly liberating a city of 600,000 people, without inflicting damage that would destroy the port.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1321981/middle-east

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Saudi Arabia intercepts Houthi-launched missile from Yemen

June 13, 2018

The missile was heading towards Jazan and was deliberately launched to target civilian and populated areas — Launching ballistic missiles towards densely populated cities and villages breaches the International humanitarian law

DUBAI: The Saudi Air Defense Force intercepted a ballistic missile fired by the Iran-backed Houthi militias from Saada province, Yemen, towards Saudi territories, UAE state news agency WAM reported on Wednesday.

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An Iranian made ballistic missile is launched from Yemen by Houthi rebels into Saudi Arabia — Reuters file photo

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The official spokesman for the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen, Col. Turki Al-Maliki, stated that at 3:46am the Saudi Air Force intercepted a missile launched by the Iran-aligned rebels against the Saudi city Jazan.

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Al-Maliki explained that the missile was heading towards Jazan and was deliberately launched to target civilian and populated areas.

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“Such hostile acts by the Iran-backed Houthi militias prove the continuing involvement of the Iranian regime in supporting the Houthi militias with qualitative capabilities in a flagrant and explicit violation of the two UN resolutions No. 2216 and 2231 with the objective of threatening the security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well as the regional and international stability.”

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Launching ballistic missiles towards densely populated cities and villages breaches the International humanitarian law, he added.

Arab News

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1320666/saudi-arabia

Houthi missile attack kills three in Saudi Arabia (Iranian Made Missiles?)

June 10, 2018

Three people in Saudi Arabia were killed in a Houthi missile attack. The International Committee of the Red Cross has evacuated staff from the port city of Hodeidah in anticipation of an assault by coalition forces.

    
A file photo of a missile launch from Houthi Rebels (Reuters/Houthi Military Media Unit)File photo

A missile launched from Yemen by the Houthi movement killed three civilians in the south of Saudi Arabia on Saturday night, according to Saudi state media.

The three people were the province of Jizan in southern Saudi Arabia which borders Yemen.

Al Arabiya English

@AlArabiya_Eng

Coalition Spokesperson Col. Turki Al Malki said that at 2:55 local time, the southern Region Operations Center announced that Iranian-backed militias targeted civilians with a projectile, which resulted in the death of two civilians in http://ara.tv/mbrvk  pic.twitter.com/BYx3fl6pmo

Al Arabiya English

@AlArabiya_Eng

UPDATE: Three Jazan civilians killed after projectile deliberately targets border city http://ara.tv/mbrvk  pic.twitter.com/BPUS2LR3xz

View image on Twitter

Last month, the group fired a salvo of missiles at the Saudi capital Riyadh, saying it was targeting economic targets.

The Houthis, a group allied with Iran that controls much of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa, have fired a series of missiles into the kingdom in recent months.

The more than three-year-old conflict in Yemen is widely seen as part of a proxy battle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

US backed Saudi coalition

A Saudi-led military coalition, which is backed by the US, is fighting against the Houthis on behalf of the government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi, who currently lives in exile in Riyadh.

On Thursday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it had pulled 71 international staff out of Yemen because of security incidents and threats, and moved them to Djibouti.

The aid agency called on all the warring sides in Yemen’s three-year conflict to provide security guarantees so that it can keep running its medical, water, and food assistance programs. Those programs, said the agency, had been crippled by the partial evacuation.

Roughly 450 ICRC employees remain in Yemen, including dozens of expatriate staff, said spokeswoman Marie-Claire Feghali.

Assault expected

It has long been expected that an attack on the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah is imminent. A senior United Nations humanitarian official said on Friday, that the long-anticipated assault on Hodeidah by the Saudi-led coalition could cost up to 250,000 lives.

A coalition spokesman said on Tuesday that allied forces were 20 km (12 miles) from Houthi-held Hodeidah. However, he did not specify whether there were plans for an assault to seize the port, which is the chief entry point for food and supplies needed to ease the current famine and a cholera epidemic.

All of the humanitarian agencies working in Yemen are deeply worried by the likely impact of an assault. There are roughly 600,000 civilians who currently live in and around Hodeidah, which lies on Yemen’s Red Sea coast.

“A military attack or siege on Hodeidah will impact hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians,” the UN humanitarian coordinator in the country, Lise Grande, said in a statement.

“In a prolonged worst case, we fear that as many as 250,000 people may lose everything — even their lives.”

World’s worst humanitarian crisis

The UN says that Yemen is currently the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and that 22.2 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian aid. At least 8.4 million are at risk of starvation, a number that will rise to 18 million this year if conditions do not improve.

Starving child in Yemen (Getty Images/AFP/A. Hyder)Yemen is currently the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

Political sources in Yemen have said the UN Yemen mediator, Martin Griffiths, is in talks with the Houthis to hand over control of the port to the United Nations in an attempt to avert a possible assault.

The larger UN peace plan calls on the Houthi movement to relinquish its ballistic missiles in return for an end to the bombing campaign against it by the Saudi-led coalition and an agreement to create a transition government, according to a draft document and sources.

av/bw (Reuters, AP)

http://www.dw.com/en/houthi-missile-attack-kills-three-in-saudi-arabia/a-44144189

Iranian Ballistic Missiles Again Launched at Saudi Arabia from Yemen

June 9, 2018

 

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An Iranian made ballistic missile is launched from Yemen by Houti rebels into Saudi Arabia — Reuters file photo

Saudi Arabia said two ballistic missiles were fired toward the Kingdom’s territory on Friday from Yemen.

The ballistic missiles, fired by the Iran-backed Houthi militia, were detected by the Saudi air force at 18:45.

One was confirmed to have failed and landed inside  Saada Province in Yemeni territory and the other in an unpopulated desert area, the spokesman for the coalition Col. Turki Al-Malki said.

He said the two missiles were heading toward the Saudi city of Najran and were launched in a deliberate way to target civilian population centers.

The spokesman said that such hostile acts by the terrorist Houthis affiliated to Iran proves the continuation of the involvement of the Iranian regime.

Arab News

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1318306/saudi-arabia

U.S. Weighs Expanding Military Role in Yemen War

June 4, 2018

United Arab Emirates seeks direct U.S. help to capture Red Sea port from Iran-backed Houthi fighters

Image result for Hodeidah, photos

WASHINGTON—The Trump administration is weighing an appeal from the United Arab Emirates for direct U.S. support to seize Yemen’s main port for humanitarian aid from Iranian-backed Houthi fighters, according to U.S. officials, a move they worry could have catastrophic effects on the country.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has asked for a quick assessment of the UAE’s plea for assistance such as surveillance drone flights to help a Saudi-led coalition retake Hodeidah, which currently serves as a vital lifeline for the country’s…

Saudi King Salman receives Yemeni president — Can they defeat the Iran-backed rebels?

May 30, 2018

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman received Yemeni President Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Tuesday in Jeddah.

The meeting was attended by a number of provincial governors and other dignitaries.

Yemen’s army killed 35 Iran-backed Houthi militants in Al-Jouf province on Monday. The army has also made strong gains in Houthi-held areas in Hodeidah province in recent days.

King Salman received Yemen’s president at Al-Salam palace in Jeddah. (SPA)
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http://www.arabnews.com/node/1312126/saudi-arabia

Houthi missile fired towards Jazan intercepted by Saudi air defenses

May 24, 2018

Saudi air defenses intercepted a ballistic missile fired by the Houthi militia towards the border province of Jazan on Thursday morning, Al Ekhbariya TV reported.

The ballistic missile was launched from the Houthi strong-hold province of Saada.

The missile was spotted at 1:58am on Thursday and was directed towards Jazan city, targeting civilian and populated areas.

The Saudi Royal Air Force (RAFF) was able to intercept the missile and destroy it.

The Iranian-backed Houthis have fired a number of missiles over the border at Saudi cities, including the capital, Riyadh, in breach of international laws banning the targeting of civilian areas.

And on Wednesday UAE coalition forces intercepted two boats in the Red Sea being used by the Houthis to target a tanker.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1308736/saudi-arabia

Arab News