Tag Archives: Airstrike

GCC to hold Riyadh summit on Yemen crisis

A general view of the last session of the 34th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit held in Kuwait, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013.

A general view of the last session of the 34th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit held in Kuwait, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013.

The six-state Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states will meet in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Monday to discuss regional developments, most significantly the ongoing crisis in Yemen.

Alongside the Gulf heads of state, will be French President Francois Hollande who will be the first foreign leader to attend a GCC Summit since its inception in 1981. Hollande will be on an important tour of Qatar and Saudi Arabia as he continues to foster strong ties between France and the GCC.

The GCC Summit will be also be an opportunity for the Gulf leaders to discuss bilateral relations and ways to strengthen their close ties in the face of regional challenges including the situations in Syria, Iraq, as well as Yemen.

In Yemen, a Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries is trying to stop Iranian-backed Houthi militias and forces loyal to deposed leader Ali Abdullah Saleh from taking control of the country.

Peace talks had collapsed after Houthi militias went on the offensive in recent months, seizing the capital Sanaa and advancing on Aden, forcing President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi to flee into exile in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi-led coalition launched an air campaign on Houthi targets in Yemen on March 26 to prevent the militia from taking the entire territory and to restore Hadi’s legitimate authority.

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‘Limited’ coalition ground force in Aden, Yemen, more coming – reports

A “limited” Saudi-led force is on the ground in Yemen‘s strategic port of Aden and more troops are on their way, a government official has confirmed to AFP. About 20 troops have landed in the city for a “reconnaissance” mission, AP reports.”A limited coalition force entered Aden and another force is on its way” to Aden, the official and commander told the agency on terms of anonymity.

The Saudi-led forces “will start helping us in fighting” the Houthi rebels, a leading member of the popular committees, a locally recruited militia loyal to expelled President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, also told the agency.

Similar reports appeared in the local Al-Ghad daily, which claimed the ground forces have entered the airport. The newspaper is linked to southern separatists, who demand the restoration of the southern state that merged with North Yemen 15 years ago.

Between 40-50 Arab special forces soldiers have arrived in the city, Ali al-Ahmed, spokesman for the Southern Popular Resistance, anti-Houthi group said.

“Joint land forces from the Arab coalition landed in Aden on Sunday and are now participating with the southern resistance to fight around Aden airport,” he said, “It’s a limited force – 40-50 from special forces.”

However, AP reported 20 troops deployed by Saudi-led coalition in Aden.

A spokesman from the Saudi-led coalition, Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, denied the information, saying the Arab states haven’t stared any major ground operation in Aden. He then added there are no foreign troops in the port city, but the coalition continues to battle Houthi rebels.

“There are no foreign forces in Aden but the coalition continues to help fight against the Houthi militia,” Asseri said in a statement.

Fighting continued in the strategic port city of Aden on Sunday, local sources told Reuters, adding that the city has seen fierce battles for three days. The attacks were reported in the city’s central districts of Mualla and Khor Maksar, near the main commercial port, as well as around a military camp and the airport.

Houthi rebels took control of the capital Sanaa in September 2014, in a move that forced Sunni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia. They are fighting to control of Aden, which is home to about 800,000 people.

On April 21, Saudi Arabia said the first phase of the campaign, codenamed operation “Decisive Storm”, had achieved all its goals and was concluded. The new phase, operation “Restoring Hope”, was announced with a focus on diplomacy, but didn’t rule out new airstrikes.

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Sisi in Riyadh to congratulate Saudi royals

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Saudi King Salman

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Saudi King Salman

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has paid a short visit Saturday to Saudi Arabia, coming in the wake of a major reshuffle in the kingdom’s royal court.

The visit, that lasted less than 90 minutes, comes in the framework of continuous coordination and consulting between the two countries, Egypt’s ambassador to Riyadh Afify Abdel Wahab told state media.

Crown Prince Mohamed bin Nayef and Deputy Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman welcomed Al-Sisi upon his arrival.

Al-Sisi congratulated King Salman bin Abdul Aziz for the appointment of bin Nayef and bin Salman, as the two leaders discussed regional and international developments, Saudi state news agency reported.

Al-Sisi was accompanied by Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Head of General Intelligence Service (GIS) Khaled Fawzy, Head of the President’s Office Abbas Kamel, and ambassador Abdel Wahab.

King Salman executed a major reshuffle in his country’s administration on Wednesday, replacing his Crown Prince, the  Foreign Minister and naming his son as Deputy Crown Prince.

Bin Nayef is the former defence minister and incumbent interior minister, who is known for having strong ties with the US, where he was educated. He also has well-known ties to the security forces, and will be the first grandson of the founding king Abdul Aziz to lead the kingdom, if the current line of succession remains unchanged.

‘We’ve arrived’: ISIS wing in Yemen releases first video, threatens Houthis

Screenshot from youtube video by Vocativ

The Islamic State has declared its official presence in war-torn Yemen as the jihadists posted a video online, threating to “cut the throats” of Shiite Houthi rebels.

Like most Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL) videos, the 9-minute-long clip was professionally shot and edited – with CGs and catchy background music.

It showed around two dozen IS fighters in full military gear training in the desert area, which is claimed to be located near the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

The jihadist carried AK-47s, heavy machine guns and RPGs and then fired from some of their weapons.

After that, the apparent commander of the group stuck the black IS flag into the sand and pronounced that the “soldiers of the Caliphate” have arrived in Yemen to “cut the throats” of the Houthis.

“We have come to Yemen, with men hungry for your blood to avenge the Sunnis and take back the land they have occupied,” the IS commander said in a video, the International Business Times reported.

He then addressed all able-bodied Sunni men in Yemen to join him the battle against the Houthis.

The video was posted online on Friday, a day after a newly-announced division of the IS, the Green Brigade, claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on the Shiite rebels.

On Wednesday, five Houthi militia members were killed in the car bombing in Ibb province in central Yemen.

It became the second attack claimed by the IS in the country after 142 people were killed and another 350 injured in a series of suicide bombings at Shia mosques in Sanaa on March 20.

The Sunni IS and Al-Qaeda, which has traditionally been the dominant jihadist group in Yemen, view the Shiite Houthis as heretics.

READ MORE: Al-Qaeda seizes key military camp in Yemen, snatches tanks and artillery

The Houthi rebels took control of Sanaa in September 2014, forcing Sunni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia and are now fighting for the strategic port city of Aden.

Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies have been bombing the Shiite rebels since March 25, with over 550 civilians having been killed since the start of the airstrikes, according to UN estimations.