Saudi project clears 1,000 Houthi mines in a single week

Time: August 14, 2019  

The vast number of mines continues to pose a threat to Yemeni civilians. (SPA)
  • Expert teams have cleared more than 80,000 mines since the project began in July 2018

RIYADH: Saudi-led mine clearance teams have de-activated nearly 1,000 Houthi explosive devices in Yemen in a single week.

MASAM, the Saudi project for landmine clearance, disabled 15 anti-personnel mines, 458 anti-vehicle mines, two explosive devices and 490 unexploded bombs — a total of 965 devices — during the second week of August.

Expert teams have cleared more than 80,000 mines since the project began in July 2018.

However, Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen are thought to have planted more than a million mines in the past three years. The Houthis are also developing anti-vehicle mines and converting them into anti-personnel devices.

“The vast number of land mines continues to pose a threat to the lives of Yemeni people,” a MASAMspokesman said. “The Houthi militias lay internationally banned devices randomly near residential areas, on roads and farmland in liberated regions, threatening civilians who are outside the battlefield.”

In July, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) extended the contract for the MASAM initiative for a further year, with an investment of $31 million to ensure that Saudi and international experts can continue to clear mines, especially in the governorates of Marib, Aden, Sanaa and Taiz.

The initiative is aimed at delivering security for the Yemeni people, and is one of several launched by the Kingdom.

KSRelief chief Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said the Kingdom had conducted more than 1,000 humanitarian aid programs worth $3.5 billion in 44 countries since 2014.

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Houthis embroiled in aid agency corruption scandal

Time: August 06, 2019  

A confidential report by a UN panel of experts on Yemen said Houthi authorities constantly pressure aid agencies. (File/AFP)
  • A probe by UN agency, UNICEF, focuses on a staffer who allowed a Houthi militia leader to travel in agency vehicles
  • A report by a UN panel of experts on Yemen said Houthi authorities constantly pressure and intimidating aid agencies

An Associated Press investigation has found that more than a dozen United Nations aid workers deployed to deal with the humanitarian crisis caused by five years of conflict in Yemen are being accused of graft to enrich themselves from an international outpouring of donated food, medicine, fuel and money.

A probe by UN agency, UNICEF, focuses on a staffer who allowed a Houthi militia leader to travel in agency vehicles, shielding him from potential airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition. The individuals who spoke to the AP about the investigations did so on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals.

According to three people with knowledge of the probe, internal auditors at UNICEF are investigating Khurram Javed, a Pakistani national suspected of letting a senior Houthi official use an agency vehicle.

That effectively gave the Houthi official protection from airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis, since UNICEF clears its vehicles’ movements with the coalition to ensure their safety.

Javed was well known for his close ties to Houthi security agencies; he boasted that he used his connection to prevent UNICEF auditors from entering the country, a former co-worker and an aid official said. The Houthi militias even put up a large billboard of him on a Sanaa street, thanking him for his services.

Javed could not be reached for comment. UNICEF officials confirmed that as part of an ongoing probe, an investigative team had traveled to Yemen to look into the allegations. They said Javed has been transferred to another office but did not disclose the location.

A confidential report by a UN panel of experts on Yemen, obtained by the AP, said Houthi authorities constantly pressure aid agencies, forcing them to hire loyalists, intimidating them with threats to revoke visas and aiming to control their movements and project implementation.
An official said the UN’s inability or unwillingness to address the alleged corruption in its aid programs harms the agency’s efforts to help Yemenis affected by the war.

“This is scandalous to any agency and ruins the impartiality of UN,” the aid official said.

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Tehran blamed for Yemen carnage after scores die in parade attack

Time: August 02, 2019  

Yemeni security forces carrying a body at the scene of a missile attack on a military camp west of Yemen’s government-held second city Aden. (AFP)
  • Two separate attacks killed and wounded dozens in Aden
  • One claimed by the Houthis and the other believed to be by militants

The two separate attacks in Aden – one claimed by the Houthis – killed and wounded dozens on Thursday, security sources reported.

A Reuters witness saw nine bodies on the ground after an explosion hit a military camp belonging to the Yemeni Security Belt forces backed by the United Arab Emirates, which is a member of the Saudi-led military coalition battling the Houthis.

The attack killed at least 49 people, a health ministry official said. Medecins Sans Frontieres tweeted that tens of wounded people were hospitalized.

Soldiers screamed and ran to lift the wounded and place them on trucks. Red berets lay on the ground in pools of blood.

The Houthi’s official channel Al Masirah TV said the group had launched a medium-range ballistic missile and an armed drone at the parade, which it described as being staged in preparation for a military move against provinces held by the movement.

The parade “was being used to prepare for an advance on Taiz and Dalea”, Masirah cited a Houthi military spokesman as saying.

A pro-government military source and security sources said a commander, Brigadier General Muneer Al-Yafee, a leading figure of the southern separatists, was among those killed.

“The blast occurred behind the stand where the ceremony was taking place at Al Jalaa military camp in Buraiqa district in Aden,” the Reuters witness said. “A group of soldiers were crying over a body believed to be of the commander.”

Yafee had just stepped off the stage to greet a guest when the explosion took place. Flags of the former South Yemen and those of leading coalition members were fluttering as the military band was waiting for its cue to start playing.

In a separate attack in another district of Aden on Thursday, an explosives-laden car blew up at a police station in the city’s Omar al-Mokhtar neighborhood, killing three soldiers.

Sources say at least 20 people were wounded, including three civilians.

The bomber drove into the police station’s gates shortly before the morning police lineup before the start of the workday.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk to reporters and the witnesses declined to identify themselves for fear of reprisals.

Saudi Arabia’s envoy to Yemen accused Iran of being behind the attack on the military parade.

Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jabir, in a Twitter post, also blamed Iran for the attack on a police station.

The Houthi attack on Aden is a strong indicator of their unified goals with Daesh and Al-Qaeda, the envoy said.

Yemen’s Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, in separate tweets, said the attacks were coordinated under “Iran’s administration”.

He addded that the Houthis continue to implement the agendas of Iran.

It was not clear if the incidents were related. Previous car attacks in Yemen have been carried out by militant groups like Al-Qaeda.

In February last year, twin suicide bombings claimed by Daesh hit a base of an Aden counter-terrorism unit, killing five people, including a child.

Five months later, two people were killed when an attacker blew himself in the city.

Aden is the seat of Yemen’s internationally recognized government, which has been at war with the Houthis since 2015.

(With Agencies)

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Arab coalition accuses Houthis of massacre in northern Yemen

Time: July 30, 2019  

Spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the Houthis shelled the market because the local people were loyal to the coalition. (File/AFP)
  • Spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the Houthis shelled the market because the local people were loyal to the coalition

JEDDAH: The Arab coalition on Monday accused the Houthi militia of committing a massacre in northern Yemen.

Earlier reports said 13 people were killed in an attack on a market Al-Thabit Al-Shaabi district in Saada province.

Coalition forces were working with tribal leaders in the region  to transfer those injured by the Houthi shelling to Jazan in Saudi Arabia, spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said.

He said the area was targeted because the tribe their supported the Arab coalition, which is fighting alongside forces loyal to the internationally recognized government.

Al-Maliki accused the Houthis of committing atrocities and then blaming coalition forces.

The war in Yemen was triggered when the Houthis seized control of the capital Sanaa in 2014 and forced the government to flee. The coalition, which includes Saudi Arabia, intervened in 2015 to help restore the government.

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Houthis kidnap five women in Al-Bayda

Time: July 29, 2019  

Yemeni Soldiers loyal to the Shiite Huthi rebels line-up during a graduation ceremony for a new batch of cadets in the northwestern city of Saada on
  • Eyewitnesses said the women were kidnapped at a checkpoint in the town of Rada’a after they were forcibly removed from trucks transporting passengers from Sana’a
  • The Arab Coalition targeted Houthi positions in the districts of Qataba and Zubayrat

DUBAI: Houthi militants kidnapped five women in the central province of Al-Bayda, Saudi state-news agency SPA reported on Monday.

Eyewitnesses said the women were kidnapped at a checkpoint in the town of Rada’a after they were forcibly removed from trucks transporting passengers from Sana’a.

Meanwhile, the Yemeni army has taken control of areas in Dali after clashes with the Iranian-backed Houthi militia, according to the Yemeni national military website “September Net”.

The Arab Coalition targeted Houthi positions in the districts of Qataba and Zubayrat, killing and wounding some members of the miltia, destroying vehicles, and a 23 caliber weapon.

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Yemen Houthi court condemns 30 to death for ‘spying’

09/07/19

Those sentenced have been Houthi custody for the past year. (File/AFP)
  • The accused have been held in custody for the past 12 months
  • The Houthis have issue a number of death sentences for spying allegations

SANAA: A court run by Yemen’s Houthi militia Tuesday sentenced 30 academics, trade unionists and preachers to death for allegedly spying for the Saudi-led coalition, a judicial source said.
The men, among 36 defendants tried by the criminal court in the rebel-held capital Sanaa, have been in custody for the past year, the source told AFP.
“The criminal court today (Tuesday) issued a verdict condemning 30 people to death on charges of spying for the aggression countries,” the source said, adding that the other six were acquitted.
He said the men were convicted of supplying the coalition with information on locations for air strikes.
The coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015, a few months after the Iran-aligned Shiite Houthi rebels captured Sanaa.
The coalition backs the internationally-recognized government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.
Since the Houthis took control of the capital in September 2014, their courts have issued several death sentences for spying.
In May last year, a Sanaa court sentenced two men to death for spying for Riyadh, while in January, the same court condemned to death 22-year old mother Asmaa Al-Omeissy and two men on charges of aiding the United Arab Emirates, a key partner in the coalition.
The sentences have not been carried out.
Yemen’s conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, many of them civilians, relief agencies say, and sparked what the UN terms the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with millions displaced and in need of aid.

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Arab coalition thwarts Houthi attack on commercial ship in Red Sea

Time: July 08, 2019

Arab Coalition Spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki speaks at a press conference in Riyadh. (File photo/AFP)

RIYADH: The Arab military coalition thwarted an attempt by Houthi militants to attack a commercial ship off the coast of Yemen.
Naval forces intercepted and destroyed a “booby-trapped boat,” laden with explosives in the southern Red Sea on Monday morning, coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said.
There were no details of the targeted ship.
The coalition, which is fighting alongside forces loyal to Yemen’s internationally recognized government against the Iran-backed Houthis, has repeatedly warned of the danger posed by the militants to international shipping.
In July 2018, the Houthis attacked a Saudi-owned oil tanker as it travelled through the Red Sea. Iran has also been blamed for a number of attacks on ships in recent months in waters off the Arabian Peninsula.
“The threat to navigation and international trade by the Iran-backed Houthi militia is a serious terrorist act,” Al-Maliki said.
He said the coalition forces are continuing to “neutralize all the militia’s hostile terrorist capabilities.”
Earlier, Al-Maliki accused the Houthis of reinforcing terrorist organizations operating in Yemen.
The accusation came after Saudi and Yemeni special forces captured the leader of Daesh in Yemen last month.
Abu Osama Al-Muhajir, a Yemeni who went by several other names, also fought for Daesh in Syria, Al-Maliki said.
Al-Maliki said that the Iran-backed Houthis continue to target civilians in the conflict, which started in 2014 when the militia seized the capital Sanaa,
He described the coalitions continued efforts to help aid deliveries, with more than 600 permits issued over the last two weeks.

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Arab coalition intercepts Houthi drones targeting Saudi Arabia

30/06/19

Saudi army officers walk past F-15 fighter jets, GBU bombs and missiles displayed during a services marking the 50th anniversary of the creation of the King Faisal Air Academy at King Salman airbase in Riyadh on January 25, 2017. (File/AFP)

  • The Houthi militia targeted a civilian residential area in the southern province of Asir
  • The Iran-backed Houthis have increasingly used drones to target southern Saudi Arabia

The Saudi-led Arab coalition intercepted two drones targeting Saudi Arabia that were launched by the Houthi militia in Yemen.

Coalition spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Malki told Saudi news agency, SPA, that the Houthi militia targeted a civilian residential area in the southern province of Asir at 11:45 p.m. local time on Saturday. No casualties were reported.

The Houthi affiliated news channel, Al-Masirah, reported late Saturday that the Houthis targeted Saudi airports in Abha and Jizan with Qasef-2K drones.

The Iran-backed Houthis have increasingly used drones to target southern Saudi Arabia, including two recent strikes on the Abha airport.

On June 12, a Houthi missile attack on Abha airport wounded 26 civilians, drawing promises of “stern action” from the coalition. And on June 23, another Houthi attack on Abha airport killed a Syrian national and wounded 21 other civilians, according to the coalition.

The drone attacks come amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran.

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One dead, several injured in Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha Airport

Time: June 24, 2019  

Arab coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said on Sunday that one person was killed and several others injured in a Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha Airport. (Screenshot/Al-Arabiya)
  • Coalition spokesman Al-Maliki did not say what type of weapon was used in the attack
  • Person killed was Syrian resident in the Kingdom

RIYADH: Arab coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said on Sunday that one person was killed and 21 others injured in a Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha Airport.

A terrorist attack by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia took place at Abha international airport, through which thousands of civilian passengers pass daily. A Syrian national died and 21 civilians were wounded,” the coalition spokesperon said in a statement carried by Saudi Press Agency.

Al-Maliki did not say what type of weapon was used in the attack.

(From Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Twitter account)

Earlier this month, at least 26 people were injured when a Houthi missile fired from Yemen hit the same airport.

After the attack, the coalition vowed a firm response and said the attack proved Tehran’s support for cross-border terrorism.

The coalition said the injured in the first attack were all civilians of different nationalities and included two Saudi children and three women – a Saudi, a Yemeni and an Indian.

Human Rights Watch denounced the June 12 strike as an apparent “war crime”, urging the Houthis to immediately stop all attacks on civilian infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.

The attacks come amid heightened regional tensions with Iran, which Saudi Arabia has accused of supplying sophisticated weapons to the Houthis. Tehran denies the charge.

* with agencies

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Houthis have smuggled various weapons from Iran: Arab coalition

Time: June 24, 2019  

Arab Coalition Spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki speaks at a press conference in Riyadh. (File/SPA)
  • Col. Al-Maliki also said that the Houthis are digging trenches and building fortifications in Hodeidah
  • Said Iran-backed militia is trying to provoke the coalition

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting Yemen’s internationally recognized government said on Monday that the Houthi militia has received various types of weapons smuggled from Iran.
Speaking at a weekly press conference in Riyadh, spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the militia has suffered heavy losses and as a result they have been targeting civilians and civilian installations.
Col. Al-Maliki also said that the Houthis are digging trenches and building fortifications in Hodeidah in violation of the Stockholm agreement.
He said that the Iran-backed militia is trying to provoke the coalition, but “we will apply international law.”
He added that the coalition has started providing financial assistance to those affected by accidents in Yemen and the coalition has already compensated 116 people affected.

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