France to propose new Security Council Gaza resolution on aid, hostages

AL-MUKALLA: The US Central Command said on Sunday its forces destroyed two drones in Yemen and over the Red Sea.

In this latest round of skirmishes between the Houthis and US-led maritime forces in the area, one drone was destroyed over the Red Sea on Saturday morning, and the other on the ground while it was being prepared for launch in an area of Yemen controlled by the Houthis, military officials said. The drones were being used to target coalition naval ships and international commercial vessels in the Red Sea, they added.

In a message about the destruction of the drones posted on social media platform X, CENTCOM said: “These actions are necessary to protect our forces, ensure freedom of navigation, and make international waters safer and more secure for US, coalition and merchant vessels.”

The Houthis have not claimed responsibility for any additional attacks in the Red Sea since last Tuesday, although the US military has said that it took down ballistic missiles and drones fired by the group’s forces in recent days.

Since November, the Houthis have seized a commercial ship and launched hundreds of drones, ballistic missiles and remotely operated boats targeting naval and commercial vessels in the Red Sea, Bab Al-Mandab Strait and Gulf of Aden. They say their aim is to block major shipping lanes for vessels linked to and bound for Israel, to pressure authorities in the country to allow deliveries of humanitarian aid for Palestinians to enter the Gaza Strip.

In response to the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, the US and UK have launched dozens of strikes on Sanaa, Saada, Hodeidah and other Houthi-controlled parts of Yemen, targeting military sites, missile and drone launchers, and underground weapons-storage facilities, according to the two nations’ forces.

The US Central Command also regularly reports it has shot down Houthi drones and missiles, or destroyed them on the ground in Yemen before launch.

Meanwhile, human rights organization the Yemeni Network for Rights and Freedoms said that landmines and other explosive devices planted by the Houthis have killed or injured 3,607 people across the country in the past six years.

It said that between January 2018 and February 2024, 1,219 civilians were killed by such devices, including 317 children and 108 women, and 1,624 civilians were injured, including 403 children and 236 women. A further 764 Yemenis were permanently disabled, losing limbs or their vision, as a result of landmine explosions.

The southern province of Taiz experienced the highest number of landmine-related deaths, with 214, the organization said, followed by the western province of Hodeidah, with 154, the central province of Marib, with 148, and the northern province of Jouf, with 102. Other Yemeni provinces, including Lahj, Ibb, Sanaa, Abyan, Dhale, Saada and Hajjah, reported fewer landmine casualties.

Ousama Al-Gosaibi, managing director of the Saudi-funded Masam demining project in Yemen, has criticized the international community for its “lack of action” to address the proliferation of Houthi landmines in the country. He urged the world to assist Yemen in its mine-removal efforts, and to do more to persuade the Houthis to stop laying the devices and submit maps showing the locations of its mines that are already in place.

Masam said that since its work began in mid-2018, it has cleared 436,376 antipersonnel and antitank mines, improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance from 55,390,882 square meters of Yemeni soil.

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