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Yemen govt to grant amnesty to those who cut ties with Houthi rebels

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Ali Abudallah Saleh

Yemen’s internationally-recognised government said Monday it would grant amnesty to anyone who cuts ties with Huthi rebels, after a key rebel ally turned his back on the Iran-backed insurgents.

“The president will soon announce a general amnesty for all those who collaborated with the Huthis in recent months and who have retracted that allegiance,” Prime Minister Ahmad Obaid bin Daghr said.

Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Iran-backed Huthis warned civilians on Monday to evacuate rebel-held areas in the capital Sanaa, after the government ordered an advance to retake the city.

“The coalition urges civilians to evacuate areas near positions held by the Huthis,” read a coalition statement published by Saudi Arabia’s state-run Al-Ekhbariya TV.

A wave of air raids rattled Yemen’s crisis-hit capital Monday, witnesses said, as clashes between rebels and supporters of ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh also spread beyond Sanaa.

The strikes appeared to hit targets near Sanaa International Airport and the interior ministry, both under the control of the Iran-backed Huthi rebels, according to residents and a source inside the airport.

A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia, Iran’s regional arch-rival, is the only party in the Yemen war known to conduct air strikes on Sanaa.

A spokesman for the coalition did not respond to requests for confirmation of the raids on Monday.

Residents near the airport said multiple air raids had shaken their homes late Sunday night and in the early hours of Monday.

An airport source said rebel bases near the location appeared to have been targeted but the airport itself had not been bombed.

Residents also reported that the fighting, which erupted Wednesday night between armed Saleh supporters and Huthi fighters, had spread outside the capital.

Tribal sources in Saleh’s hometown Sanhan, south of Sanaa, on Monday reported intense overnight fighting between the Huthis and Saleh loyalists.

Yemeni territory is split between the forces and government of Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi in the south, backed by Saudi Arabia and recognised by the international community, the northern Huthi rebels and forces loyal to strongman Saleh.

Since 2014, Sanaa has been ruled under an agreement between Saleh and the Huthis, who drove the Hadi government out of the capital, set up their own government and for two years together fought the Saudi-led coalition.

Saleh on Saturday announced he was open to talks with Saudi Arabia and its allies on condition they ended their crippling blockade on Yemen’s ports and airports — dealing a serious blow to his already fragile alliance with rebel chief Abdul Malik al-Huthi.

The Saleh-Huthi split has sparked fears of a new front in the Yemen war, which has already claimed more than 8,750 lives since the Saudi-led coalition joined the war to support the Hadi government.

The conflict has pushed Yemen to the brink of mass starvation and triggered what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

India

Etihad Begins Special Flights From 6 Indian Destination Between July 12-26

All passengers must have ICA approval from the government of Abu Dhabi before they travel and will not be permitted to check-in without the necessary approvals.

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etihad Airways

New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) Etihad Airways will resume a limited number of special flights from six Indian gateways to Abu Dhabi from July 12 to 26.

The announcement comes a day after partial lifting of international flight restrictions by Indian authorities to allow outbound travel.

“During this period, the airline will operate services to Abu Dhabi from Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai to Abu Dhabi,” the company said in a statement.

“All passengers must have ICA approval from the government of Abu Dhabi before they travel and will not be permitted to check-in without the necessary approvals.”

On Thursday, the Centre announced civil aviation authorities of India and the UAE have agreed to operate special repatriation flights between the two countries during July 12-26.

As per the arrangement, chartered flights operated by UAE carriers to bring back Indians from the UAE will be allowed to carry ICA (Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship) approved UAE residents to their native country on their return leg.

Further, Indian carriers operating repatriation flights to bring back Indians from the UAE will be allowed to carry the ICA-approved UAE residents on their onward journey from India to the Gulf country.

“As part of the close strategic partnership between the governments of India and UAE , and with a view to assisting UAE residents who are presently in India to return to UAE, the Civil Aviation Authorities of both countries have agreed to operationalise a special arrangement,” Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had tweeted.

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Middle East

Targeted killing of Iran’s Soleimani unlawful: UN report

According to the report, the strike near the Baghdad airport on January 3 was in violation of the UN Charter with insufficient evidence provided of an ongoing or imminent attack.

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Soleimani

Geneva, July 10 : Without an actual imminent threat to life, the targeted killing of Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani in an American airstrike earlier this year was unlawful, according to a latest UN report.

Presenting the report to the UN Human Rights Council Thursday on the use of force under drones technology, Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said the US action constituted an arbitrary killing, reports Xinhua news agency.

“In light of the evidence that the US has provided to date, the targeting of General Soleimani, and the deaths of those accompanying him, constitute an arbitrary killing,” Callamard said in her report.

According to the report, the strike near the Baghdad airport on January 3 was in violation of the UN Charter with insufficient evidence provided of an ongoing or imminent attack.

No evidence has been provided that General Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, specifically was planning an imminent attack against US interests, particularly in Iraq, for which immediate action was necessary and would have been justified, the report said.

Also no evidence has been provided that a drone strike in a third country was necessary or that the harm caused to that country was proportionate to the harm allegedly averted, the report added.

Besides Soleimani, the US airstrike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of Iraq”s Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary forces.

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Middle East

More advanced equipment to replace damaged part of Iran n-site

Natanz, located some 250 km south of Tehran, includes underground facilities buried under some 25 feet of concrete, which offers protection from airstrikes.

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Iran Nuclear Power Plant

Tehran, July 6 : A new and more advanced structure will be built at Iran”s Natanz nuclear facility to replace the one damaged in a recent fire “incident”, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said on Monday.

“Necessary arrangements have been made to rebuild the damaged shed at Shahid Ahmadi Roshan (Natanz) nuclear facility and a bigger shed with more advanced equipment is to replace it,” the spokesman, Behrouz Kamalvandi said.

More centrifuge machines were supposed to be produced at the damaged shed, Kamalvandi said, adding that parts of measurement and precision tools in the shed were destroyed and damaged in the “incident”, reports Xinhua news agency

The “incident” has not caused hindrance in Iran”s enrichment work, although it may slow down development and manufacture of advanced machines in the medium term, he said.

“We would make up for this slowdown through round-the-clock work and diligent efforts of our colleagues at the organization.”

On July 2, Iran announced that the fire at the Natanz nuclear facility caused no damage to the establishment, but it affected one of the structures for storing stock items.

The next day, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) saidthat the country”s experts had determined the main cause of “incident” and would announce it at an “appropriate time”.

Natanz, located some 250 km south of Tehran, includes underground facilities buried under some 25 feet of concrete, which offers protection from airstrikes.

The facility is a Fuel Enrichment Plant covering 100,000 square meters.

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