Houthi drone control center destroyed in Yemen as US condemns Lahaj attack

A wounded Yemen soldier moments after a Houthi drone explodes above Yemen's Al-Anad airbase on Jan.10 2019 . (AFP)
Updated 12 January 2019
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Houthi drone control center destroyed in Yemen as US condemns Lahaj attack

  • Strike comes after six people were killed when the Houthis exploded a drone above a military parade in Lahaj
  • United States on "strongly condemned" the attack at Al-Anad Air Base

JEDDAH: A Houthi communications center controlling drones has been destroyed, the Arab coalition supporting the legitimate government in Yemen said Friday.

The location of the drone control center was formerly occupied by a Yemeni communications company but was then taken over by Houthi militia who turned it into an operations center.

On Thursday, six people were killed when the Houthis exploded a drone above a military parade in Lahaj province.

The United States on Friday "strongly condemned" the attack at Al-Anad Air Base, which jeopardizes a ceasefire for the port of Hodeidah agreed at talks in Sweden last month.

"This attack contravenes the spirit of the Hodeidah ceasefire and the progress made last month at the UN-led talks in Sweden," the State Department said. "We urge all sides to honor the commitments they made in Sweden to their fellow Yemenis by refraining from violence and provocative acts."

The escalation came after the UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths this week warned "substantial progress" was needed on the ground before full-blown negotiations could be launched on ending the civil war.

Britain on Friday presented a UN Security Council draft resolution that would expand the international observer mission monitoring the Hodeidah ceasefire and allow humanitarian aid to reach millions.
The council is expected to vote on the measure next week, diplomats said.
The mission would provide for the deployment of up to 75 monitors in the rebel-held city of Hodeida and its port along with the ports of Saleef and Ras Issa for an initial period of six months, AFP reported.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to "expeditiously" deploy the full mission, led by retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert.
Meanwhile, a large explosion took place at an oil refinery in Aden on Friday evening, Al Arabiya reported. The cause of the blast was unclear


Erdogan offers seminary exchange for Greek mosque minarets

Updated 11 min 19 sec ago
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Erdogan offers seminary exchange for Greek mosque minarets

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday suggested the mosque in Athens should open with minarets if the Greek premier wants to reopen a seminary in Istanbul.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was in Turkey this month and visited the disputed landmarks of Hagia Sophia and the now-closed Greek Orthodox Halki seminary.
Tsipras said during the visit to the seminary located on Heybeli island off Istanbul on February 6 he hoped to reopen the school next time with Erdogan.
Future priests of the Constantinople diocese had been trained at the seminary, which was closed in 1971 after tensions between Ankara and Athens over Cyprus.
Erdogan on Saturday complained that the Fethiye Mosque in Athens had no minarets despite Greek insistence that it would open.
The mosque was built in 1458 during the Ottoman occupation of Greece but has not been used as a mosque since 1821.
“Look you want something from us, you want the Halki seminary. And I tell you (Greece), come, let’s open the Fethiye Mosque,” Erdogan said during a rally in the northwestern province of Edirne ahead of local elections on March 31.
“They said, ‘we are opening the mosque’ but I said, why isn’t there a minaret? Can a church be a church without a bell tower?” he said, describing his talks with Tsipras.
“We say, you want to build a bell tower? Come and do it... But what is an essential part of our mosques? The minarets,” the Turkish president added.
Erdogan said Tsipras told him he was wary of criticism from the Greek opposition.
After the independence war against Ottomans began in 1821, the minaret is believed by some to have been destroyed because it was a symbol of the Ottoman occupation.
Ankara had returned land taken from the seminary in 1943 but there is still international pressure on Turkey to reopen it.
Erdogan has previously said that its reopening is dependent on reciprocal steps from Greece to enhance the rights of the Turkish minority.