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Alaturka Gazetesi

Saudi takes command of coalition forces in Yemen's Aden

RIYADH (AA) – The Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen said Sunday its forces have been repositioned in the southern city of Aden to be under the command of Saudi Arabia.

A coalition statement said the move was taken to "conform with the requirements of the current operations", without giving any further details.

It said the redeployment came as part of effort "to coordinate military and security operations plans, enhance humanitarian and relief actions and strengthen efforts to secure waterways adjacent to Yemeni coastlines", the official Saudi news agency SPA reported.

There was no comment from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the redeployment.

Coalition forces in Aden had been under the UAE command since Riyadh and its Sunni allies began a massive air campaign in 2015 against Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, who overran much of Yemen a year earlier.

In August, scores were killed in clashes between UAE-backed forces and government troops in Aden amid rising anger in the Yemeni government against Abu Dhabi.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Iraq suspends 2 Saudi channels over protests

By Serhad Shakir

BAGHDAD (AA) – Iraq's government on Sunday ordered two Saudi channels to suspend operations amid mass protests in the country.

Iraqi police asked reporters of the Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath channels to suspend any press activity, using the lack of license as a pretext, Al-Arabiya said on its website.

The Iraqi government has yet to confirm the suspension.

Baghdad and other Iraqi provinces have faced a second wave of demonstrations since Friday against government corruption, unemployment, and a lack of basic services.

At least 63 people have been killed and more than 2,500 others injured during the demonstrations, according to Iraq's High Commission for Human Rights.

Discontent has been growing in Iraq in recent years due to rising unemployment and rampant corruption. Many in the country have limited access to basic services such as electricity and clean water.

According to World Bank figures, Iraq's youth unemployment is around 25%. It is also ranked the 12th most-corrupt country in the world by several transparency organizations.

*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Saudi Arabia rules out Iran talks on war-torn Yemen

RIYADH (AA) – Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Wednesday ruled out holding negotiations with Iran on resolving the five-year conflict in Yemen.

On Monday, an Iranian government spokesman said Riyadh had sent messages to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani through the leaders of other countries.

But al-Jubeir described the Iranian statement as “inaccurate”.

“What happened was that sister countries sought to calm the situation, and we told them that the position of the kingdom was to always seek security and stability in the region,” he said on Twitter.

“We also told them that de-escalation should come from the party that is escalating and spreading chaos,” he said.

In an interview with CBS News on Monday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Saudi Arabia was open to all initiatives for a political solution in Yemen.

Tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran has mounted recently after attacks on two oil facilities of Aramco, an attack for which Riyadh and Washington held Tehran responsible, which the country has denied.

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of arming Houthi rebels in Yemen, which overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa, in 2014.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains in Yemen and supporting the country’s pro-Saudi government.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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Alaturka Gazetesi

UPDATE – Houthis welcome bin Salman’s remarks on Yemen war end

UPDATES WITH UN ENVOY’S ARRIVAL

By Mohamed al-Samei

SANAA (AA) – Yemen's Houthi rebel group has welcomed remarks by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in which he voiced hope for reaching a political solution to the five-year conflict in Yemen.

"Bin Salman's optimism about stopping the war is positive,” Mohamed Ali al-Houthi, a member of the group’s political council, said in statements cited by the Houthi-run Saba news agency.

“Turning the discussion into negotiations requires [Saudis] to show seriousness and to deal in a realistic way without any dictations,” he said.

In an interview with CBS News on Monday, bin Salman said Saudi Arabia was open to all initiatives for a political solution in Yemen.

“First, if Iran stops its support of the Houthi militia, the political solution will be much easier. Today we are open to all initiatives for a political solution in Yemen. We hope this happens today rather than tomorrow,” he said.

Meanwhile, UN envoy Martin Griffiths arrived in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, on Tuesday for talks with Houthi leaders on ways to reach a truce with Saudi Arabia.

A source in the UN envoy's office told Anadolu Agency that Griffiths will discuss with Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi and other members the prospects for calm between the rebel group and Saudi Arabia.

Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Iran-aligned Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including Sanaa.

The conflict escalated the following year when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains in Yemen and supporting the country’s pro-Saudi government.

*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Saudi king’s bodyguard killed in Jeddah

RIYADH (AA) – The personal bodyguard of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz has been killed, according to local media on Sunday.

State-run Al Ekhbariya TV reported that Maj. Gen. Abdulaziz al-Fagham was shot during a personal dispute in Jeddah.

No further details were available.

There was no comment from the Saudi authorities on the report.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Yemen rebels say 16 killed in Saudi-led attacks

By Mohamed al-Samei

SANAA (AA) – At least 16 civilians were killed in Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in central Yemen on Tuesday, according to the Houthi rebel group.

In a statement, rebel spokesman Yahya Sarei said two airstrikes targeted a house in the central province of Ad-Dali.

“Seven children and four women were among the victims,” he said.

There was no comment from the Saudi-led coalition on the claim.

On Monday, the Houthi group accused the coalition of killing five civilians in airstrikes in the northern Amran province.

Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when the Iran-aligned Houthi group overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The conflict escalated the following year when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains in Yemen and supporting the country’s pro-Saudi government.

More than 70,000 people have been killed in the raging conflict since 2016, according to UN estimates.

*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara

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Alaturka Gazetesi

7 Red Sea countries launch military drill in Jeddah

JEDDAH (AA) – Naval forces from seven Red Sea countries started a joint military drill in the Saudi city of Jeddah on Sunday, according to Saudi Arabia’s official SPA news agency.

The Red Wave 2 exercise includes forces from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Djibouti, Yemen and Somalia.

The exercise “aims to unify and enhance the maritime security of the countries bordering the Red Sea, protect territorial waters and strengthen military cooperation,'' Commander of the Saudi Western Fleet Vice Admiral Saqr bin Mohammed Al-Harbi said.

He added that the drill also aims to enhance cooperation and standardization of military concepts, raise combat readiness and exchange experiences between the participating countries.

The exercise comes amid tension in the Gulf after drones hit two oil facilities in the north of Saudi Arabia on Sept. 14.

Yemen’s Houthi rebel group initially claimed responsibility for the attack, but the U.S. has since blamed Iran, as has Saudi Arabia. Tehran has denied any connection to the strikes.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Iran says to unveil plan for Gulf security

By Beraa Gokturk

TEHRAN (AA) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday his country is ready to extend a hand of friendship to all neighbors and “forgive their past mistakes”.

“Wherever Americans have set foot, they increased insecurity, as it was proved in cases of Afghanistan and Iraq,” he said in a speech marking the 39th anniversary of the Iraqi-Iranian war.

Rouhani said he will unveil an initiative in the UN General Assembly this week “to guarantee the security of the Persian Gulf and Hormuz Strait with the cooperation of regional states”.

“The presence of foreign forces can be dangerous for the region, international waters, as well as the security of shipping lines and energy, but our path is to create unity and coordination with regional countries," he said.

Drones hit two oil facilities in the north of Saudi Arabia on Sept. 14, causing to take out 5.7 million barrels per day of production and roiled global hydrocarbon markets.

Yemen’s Houthi rebel group initially claimed responsibility for the attack, but the U.S. has since blamed Iran, as has Saudi Arabia. The Islamic Republic has denied any connection to the strikes.

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Alaturka

Daesh claims attack on Saudi police center

By Mustafa Kamel

RIYADH (AA) – The Daesh terrorist group on Monday claimed an attack on a police center in Saudi Arabia, in which four people were killed.

In a video posted by its Amaq news agency, the notorious group said the attack was “in revenge for jailed Muslims in the kingdom, Syria and Iraq “.

Saudi authorities said Sunday four gunmen had been killed and three policemen injured in a foiled terrorist attack on a police center north of Riyadh.

The authorities said gunmen attempted to break into the center before being confronted by security forces.

In July of last year, Daesh claimed an attack on a security checkpoint in the central al-Qassim region, in which a policeman and a foreign resident were killed.

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Alaturka

Yemen: Houthis mark 4 years of Saudi-led campaign

By Mohamed al-Samei

SANAA (AA) – Thousands of Houthis on Tuesday gathered in the capital Sanaa to mark the fourth anniversary of a Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen.

The crowds gathered in central Sanaa raised photos of those slain in the conflict.

“The operations of the coalition aim at occupying Yemen and plundering its wealth, ” Sultan al-Samei, a leading Houthi member, told the rally.

He went on to warn that the “fifth year [of the coalition's campaign] would bring hell to the enemies “.

Yemen has been wracked by chaos since 2014, when the Houthi rebel group overran much of the country, including Sanaa.

The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

Since then, thousands of people — including numerous civilians — are believed to have been killed in the conflict, while the UN has repeatedly warned that some 14 million Yemenis remain at risk of famine.

Writing by Mahmoud Bakarat