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Houthi rebels say they’ll end drone, missile attacks on Saudi Arabia

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Yemen’s Iran-linked Houthi rebels said late Friday that they were halting drone and ballistic missile attacks on Saudi Arabia.

The Houthi rebels have claimed recent attacks on major Saudi oil facilities.

“We hope Riyadh will respond in a positive way to this initiative.

”And if Saudi Arabia does not respond to the initiative and resumes bombing, we will have the right to respond to it,” said Mahdi al-Mashat.

Al-Mashat is head of the so-called Supreme Houthi Political Council in a recorded speech broadcast by the movement’s Al-Masirah television.

He called on the international community to stop what he described as “its abusive practices” and its underestimation of the suffering of the Yemeni people.

Al-Mashat called for immediately lifting the ban on Sana’a airport and to cease intercepting ships heading to Hodeida port.

The Houthi official stressed that “the continuation of the war will not be in anyone’s interest and may lead to serious developments.”

Earlier Friday, a Saudi-led military alliance fighting the Houthis in Yemen said that it had mounted airstrikes against the rebels.

A spokesman for the coalition, Turki al-Maliki, said the alliance had carried out an operation against “hostile” Houthi targets north of the coastal province of Hodeida in western Yemen, according to the Saudi news agency SPA.

Al-Maliki accused the rebels of using Hodeida for launching ballistic missiles, drones and remote-controlled explosive boats and deploying naval mines.

He added that the alliance had a “legitimate right to take and implement the appropriate deterrence measures with these legal military targets.”

Rebel spokesman Mohammed Abdel-Salam called the strikes a “dangerous escalation” that undermine a UN-brokered ceasefire agreement reached in Sweden last December.

“The alliance has to bear consequences of this escalation,” Abdel-Salam added in a press statement.

Tensions have run high since the weekend after the attacks on Saudi oil facilities.

Saudi Arabia and the United States have blamed the attacks on Iran. Tehran denies involvement.

In Beirut, the chief of Lebanon’s pro-Iranian Hezbollah movement, Hassan Nasrallah, advised Saudi Arabia to stop its years-long military campaign in Yemen.

“It proves to us that oil is more expensive than blood,” Nasrallah said, referring to the attack on the Saudi oil sites.

He added that no one was killed in the attack, while thousands have been killed in Yemen’s war.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have led the campaign in Yemen against the Houthis since March 2015.

“Stop betting on the Americans and their failed administration,” Nasrallah said, addressing Saudi Arabia.

“It will be less costly for the Saudis and the Emirates to protect their installations by stopping the war on the Yemeni people,” he added at a ceremony in southern Beirut.

In recent months, the Houthis have launched a string of drone and missile attacks into Saudi territory, which the rebels say are to defend themselves against the coalition’s strikes.

The power struggle between the Saudi-backed government and the Houthis has left Yemen, already one of the Arab world’s poorest countries, with a famine and massive damage to infrastructure.

YEE

Edited by Emmanuel Yashim

 

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9 Houthi rebels, 3 gov’t soldiers killed in overnight fighting in central Yemen: official

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Fighting overnight between the Yemeni government forces and Houthi rebels in Yemen’s central province of Marib killed at least 11 fighters from both sides and wounded dozens others, a local government security official said Sunday.

“At least nine rebels and three soldiers were killed and dozens from both sides were wounded in the battle near the western district of Majzar,” the official in Marib told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, the Houthi group’s al-Masirah TV reported that the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen launched 14 airstrikes overnight on the Houthi positions in Majzar.

The coalition has made no comment on the allegation.

The Yemeni government has controlled much of Marib since it recaptured the province from the Houthis in late 2015.

Yemen has been mired in civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized control of much of the country’s north and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict in early 2015 to support Hadi’s government.

The Yemeni five-year civil war has pushed more than 20 million to the brink of starvation.

(XINHUA)

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Saudi-led coalition in Yemen launches 14 airstrikes on Houthi rebels’ positions: Houthis

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Yemen’s Houthi militia said the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen launched 14 airstrikes on their positions on Thursday.

The group’s al-Masirah TV reported four airstrikes on Haradh district in the northern province of Hajjah, one on al-Buka area in the northern province of Saada and nine on Sirwah district in the central province of Marib.

The Saudi-led coalition has made no comment on the Houthi allegations.

On Monday, the coalition announced the interception of two drones launched by the Houthi militia toward the Saudi border city of Khamis Mushait against civilians.

Turki Al-Maliki, spokesman of the coalition, said the Houthis reject the cease-fire that has been enforced by the coalition since April 9.

The cease-fire decision came after a call by UN Secretary-General Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths for warring parties to lay down their weapons.

Yemen has been mired in civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized control of much of the country’s north and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict in early 2015 to support Hadi’s government.

The Yemeni five-year civil war has pushed more than 20 million to the brink of starvation.

(XINHUA)

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Houthis announce spread of COVID-19 in northern Yemen

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Health authorities in the Houthi rebel-held Yemeni capital Sanaa on Friday announced the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in several provinces in northern Yemen.

“We confirm the disease is rife … there are so many COVID-19 cases in several provinces including the capital Sanaa,” the health authorities said in a statement.

The authorities complained about inadequate testing capacity, ventilators and protective gears, blaming the UN aid agencies for not providing what they said “the required assistance to combat the coronavirus in Yemen.”

They added they would not order full lockdown in the cities under their control due to the stop of salary payment to thousands of state employees and millions of residents reliant on daily wage since the war erupted five years ago.

Meanwhile, the internationally-recognized government calls on donors and relevant international humanitarian organizations to provide support to help contain the pandemic in the country.

Yemen has been mired in civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi group seized much of the country’s north and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of Sanaa.

(XINHUA)

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9 killed in Houthi rebel attack near Yemen’s capital: gov’t source

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At least nine fighters were killed as the Yemeni government army defeated an overnight attack by the Houthi rebels to the northeast of the rebel-held capital Sanaa, a government security source said Saturday.

The Houthi attack late Friday night targeted positions of the government forces in the area of Najd al-Atak and the mountain of Salb in Nehm district, about 60 km northeast of Sanaa.

“At least eight rebels and one soldier were killed in the fighting and dozens from both sides injured,” the source in Nehm told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, the Houthi-run al-Masirah television said the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen launched 13 airstrikes on several areas in Nehm, without giving further details.

Yemen has been mired in civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized control of much of the country’s north and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of Sanaa.

The United Nations has called for a total cease-fire in Yemen to help combat the coronavirus pandemic.

(XINHUA)

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18 killed in Houthi rebel attack in central province

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At least 18 fighters were killed on Wednesday as the Yemeni government army defeated an attack by the Houthi rebels in the central province of Bayda, a government security source told Xinhua.

The Houthi attack targeted the positions of the government forces in Kaniyah area in northeast of Bayda.

The fighting lasted hours, leaving at least 14 rebels and four soldiers killed and dozens from both sides injured, the source told Xinhua by phone on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, the Houthi-run al-Masirah television reported that their military positions in Kaniyah area were attacked by five airstrikes without giving further details.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized control of much of the country’s north and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.

(XINHUA)

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Houthis declare 2 new COVID-19 cases in northern Yemen

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Health authorities in the Yemeni Houthi rebel-held capital Sanaa on Saturday declared two new COVID-19 cases in the areas under their control, taking the total number of infections in northern Yemen to four, including one death.

“A man and a woman have recovered from COVID-19,” Houthi health minister Taha al-Mutawakil told reporters in a press conference, without telling when they were tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The first case announced by the Houthi-controlled health authorities was on May 5, which was for a Somali migrant found dead in a hotel in Sanaa.

The government coronavirus committee on Friday recorded 21 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the areas under their control to 106 with 15 deaths.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi group seized control of much of the country’s north and forced the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.

(XINHUA)

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News Analysis: Self-rule declaration in southern Yemen hampers anti-Houthi military campaign 

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The announcement of Yemen’s Southern Transitional Council (STC) to establish self-rule in areas under its control could hamper the years-long military campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, experts said.

Some Yemeni experts believe that the self-governance declaration will pose serious consequences for the government’s efforts aimed at ending the Houthi coup and restoring the country’s state institutions.

“The STC’s declaration faced rejections from other local authorities in the country’s southern part and it only serves the Houthis who will exploit it as a chance or pretext for expansion militarily in Yemen,” said Mohammed Ahmadi, Yemeni political writer and analyst.

In a statement, the Aden-based STC declared a state of emergency and said that it would begin in self-governing the country’s southern port city of Aden and other key neighboring southern provinces under its control.

It also assigned its own economic, legal, military, and security committees to manage all the state institutions located in the country’s southern provinces.

Nabil al-Bukiri, director of the Arab Forum for Studies and Development, told Xinhua that “the announcement may be used by the STC just as a threat to expedite the implementation of the political provisions of the Riyadh deal and maybe for getting more political gains in the upcoming power-sharing government.”

“Both the warring sides failed to implement the military and security provisions of the Riyadh deal and the self-rule declaration will lead to the formation of a new power-sharing government as soon as possible to avoid escalation in Aden,” He said.

“Aden and neighboring southern provinces are already ruled by the STC and the self-governance declaration brought nothing new as it only came to divert the public’s attention after the demonstrations staged against the deterioration of services,” said Nabil.

The STC’s statement stated that “the decision to control and self-govern the country’s southern provinces came in light of the failure, mismanagement and rampant corruption of the Yemeni government, which practiced the policy of subjugation and starvation of the people.”

But Yemen’s government based in Saudi Arabia’s capital of Riyadh issued an immediate response to the STC’s announcement, saying that it would have catastrophic consequences for the power-sharing deal signed in last November.

The country’s Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hadhrami said in a statement posted on Twitter that the STC’s announcement is “a resumption of its armed insurgency … and an announcement of its rejection and complete withdrawal from the Riyadh Agreement.”

“The so-called transitional council will bear alone the dangerous and catastrophic consequences for such an announcement,” the Yemeni minister said.

However, Majed Aldaare, Aden-based expert and political analyst, told Xinhua that “the STC’s self-governance announcement came as a result of the government’s absence to manage the situation and provide services to the citizens living in the southern cities.”

Aldaare said that “the STC dealt with the Saudi-brokered deal positively and offered many concessions to the government before declaring a self-rule in the southern provinces.”

People living in Aden and other southern main cities reacted positively to the STC’s self-governance announcement and considered it as a glimpse of hope to end their long-suffering, said Alaa Adel Hanash, political writer and observer.

“People waited for this moment for a long time, and some southern provinces witnessed major celebrations after this historic announcement,” said Hanash.

The expert believes that “the STC will definitely succeed in managing the southern provinces for several factors including gaining massive public support that will help the council perform its duties more easily and improve the citizens’ living conditions.”

On Monday, the Saudi-led coalition demanded an end to any escalation between the Yemeni parties, a day after the STC announced a state of emergency in Aden and other southern provinces.

The anti-Houthi Arab coalition also vowed to undertake practical and systematic steps to ensure the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Riyadh Agreement was signed in November last year between the elected Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council, ending months of stand-off between the two sides in Aden.

The main points of the deal include the unification of all military forces under the ministries of interior and defense, and the formation of an efficient government made up equally between the north and south of Yemen.

(XINHUA)

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16 killed in offensive launched by Houthis against pro-gov’t forces in southern Yemen: source

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Yemen’s Houthi rebel fighters launched early on Saturday an all-out military offensive against pro-government forces in several sites in the country’s southern province of Dhalea, leaving 16 killed from both sides.

“Several of the Houthi rebels heavily attacked the sites of the pro-government forces located in Al Husha district to the western part of Dhalea province,” a local military source said on condition of anonymity.

The source confirmed that the joint pro-government Yemeni forces succeeded in repelling the Houthi attack following hours of intense battles.

The intense fighting and exchange of artillery shelling resulted in the killing of 11 Houthi fighters and five pro-government soldiers in the area, he said.

More than 13 Houthi fighters and 11 pro-government soldiers were injured during the fighting that struck the northeast parts of Al Husha district in Dhalea, he added.

Last year, the Iran-allied Houthi fighters launched a series of intense armed attacks on the positions of the Yemeni government forces and succeeded in seizing key areas in the outskirts of Dhalea.

The areas in the north and west of Dhalea have been witnessing non-stop fighting between government forces and Houthi fighters for about four years.

Yemen has been plagued by a civil war since late 2014 when Houthi militias forced the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile.
(XINHUA)

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Yemen’s Houthi rebels say they reject “fragmented peace solution”

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Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Thursday said they “reject any fragmented solutions or agreements,” in reference to the last call of nationwide cease-fire in Yemen asked by the United Nations Security Council.

“The (Houthi) Supreme Political Council, in its meeting today (Thursday) chaired by the President of the Council Mahdi Al-Mashat, affirmed its rejection to any fragmented solutions or agreements,” the Houthi group said in a statement aired by the group’s al-Masirah television.

“The Supreme Political Council expressed surprise at the Saudi-led coalition’s claim of the two-week cease-fire initiative, while it is escalating fighting and mobilizing forces at the same time,” the group said, referring to the Saudi-led coalition cease-fire initiative that began two weeks ago and was scheduled to end on April 23.

The Houthis accused the coalition of misleading the international community by claiming it carried out its unilateral two-week cease-fire in Yemen.

“The Saudi-led coalition has launched 57 overland attacks and around 500 airstrikes on Yemen over the past two weeks,” the Houthi said in the statement.

Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition has made no comment yet on the Yemeni Houthis’ claim.

Yemen has been mired in civil war for five whole years, pitting the Iran-allied Houthi rebels against the Saudi-backed government forces of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition force defending the internationally recognized Yemeni government against the Houthi rebels.

On April 8, the Saudi-led Arab coalition declared a unilateral two-week cease-fire in Yemen for fear that the raging coronavirus pandemic may reach the country which is witnessing the world‘s biggest humanitarian crisis.

The coalition’s move came in response to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ March 25 call for a nationwide cease-fire in Yemen in the context of a possible outbreak of COVID-19. Yemen has so far reported one laboratory-confirmed coronavirus case in the southeastern province of Hadramout.

On April 17, the Security Council welcomed the announcement of the unilateral cease-fire by the Saudi-led military coalition, which is fighting the Houthis in Yemen. They welcomed the Yemeni government’s positive response to the cease-fire call, and called on the Houthis to make similar commitments without delay.

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths has asked the Yemeni warring parties to seize the opportunity for peace, a nationwide cease-fire, confidence-building measures, and the restart of the political process as soon as possible.

However, the fighting has been escalating on multiple frontlines.
(XINHUA)

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