Egypt says security forces killed 14 militants in Sinai

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By ASHRAF SWEILAM | AP
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1548018921508976000
Sun, 2019-01-20 (All day)

CAIRO: Egyptian security forces say they’ve killed 14 militants and seized a ton of explosives in an operation in the restive northern part of the Sinai Peninsula.
They said on Sunday that their offensive involved clashes with Islamic militants in desert areas outside the city of el-Arish, adding that the extremists had intended to plant roadside bombs in areas between there and the cities of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweyid.
Other weapons caches including explosives were found in the more central Sinai Jabal Al-Halal mountain area.
The officials spoke anonymously as they weren’t authorized to brief reporters.
The army has been battling extremist insurgents led Daesh militants in north Sinai for years. The area is off limits for journalists, diplomats and other observers so information from there cannot be independently verified.

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Boat with migrants rescued off Libya looks for port to dock

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By FRANCES D’EMILIO | AP
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1547998709987393100
Sun, 2019-01-20 (All day)

ROME: A private rescue boat with dozens of migrants aboard sought permission for a second day to enter a safe port Sunday, but said so far its queries to several nations haven’t succeeded. Another vessel crowded with migrants and taking on water, meanwhile, put out an urgent, separate appeal for help in the southern Mediterranean.
Sea-Watch 3, run by a German NGO, said Sunday it has contacted Italy, Malta, Libya as well as the Netherlands, since the boat is Dutch-flagged, asking where it can bring the 47 migrants it had taken aboard. Sea-Watch tweeted that Libyan officials had hung up when it asked for a port assignment.
An Italian state TV reporter aboard Sea-Watch 3 said the rescue took place Saturday about 50 kilometers (30 miles) off the coast west of Tripoli in Libya’s search-and-rescue area. Libya-based human traffickers launch flimsy or rickety boats, crowded with migrants hoping to reach Europe and its opportunities for better lives.
Separately, Sea-Watch tweeted Sunday afternoon that it had been urgently contacted by a boat with 100 migrants aboard that said it was taking on water, 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) from the current location at sea of Sea-Watch 3.
The distressed vessel reported navigational problems and had among the migrants a child “unconscious or deceased,” Sea-Watch said. Subsequent communication said the boat was “taking in water” and asked Sea-Watch to call for help, “regardless of what this would mean concerning a possible return to Libya,” Sea-Watch said.
The aid group later said Malta on the phone confirmed “that they will come back to us” regarding the distress call, but it wasn’t immediately clear what kind of assistance the Maltese might give.
Migrants dread the prospect of being returned to Libya, where they have reported torture including beatings and rapes in overcrowded detention centers.
The governments of Malta and Italy have been refusing to allow private rescue boats rescuing migrants to dock. Both contend that in recent years they have taken in many migrants rescued at sea and that fellow European Union nations must agree to take their share of these asylum-seekers.
Earlier this month, Malta transferred to land 49 migrants who had been aboard Sea-Watch 3 as long as 19 days but refused the boat port entry. They were allowed to set foot on the southern Mediterranean island only after an EU-brokered deal found several countries willing to take them as well as other migrants, who had been rescued at sea earlier in separate operations by Malta.

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‘Yemen’s Houthi militia using Iranian-made drone aircraft’: Arab coalition

Sun, 2019-01-20 18:30

JEDDAH: The Arab coalition fighting to support the legitimate Yemeni government said on Sunday that the Houthi militia are in possession of Iranian-made drones — named Shahed 129 — and are using residential areas to hide the aircraft.

Spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the Houthis have used the aircraft to carry out a number of attacks and are using Sanaa airport for military purposes.

Speaking at a press conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh, Al-Maliki said a coalition military operation that was conducted in Sanaa on Saturday night “targeted a Houthi manufacturing and assembly area for drone aircraft.”

He added: “We attacked a helicopter platform belonging to the Houthi militia in an area between Sanaa and Saada.”

Al-Maliki confirmed that Iran had provided the Houthi militia with “Ababil-T drones.”

During the press conference, he displayed videos and pictures of Saturday’s operations against the militia group in Sanaa, models of aircraft used by the Houthis in their attacks and the bombing of a cave used by the Iran-backed terrorist group as a command center in Sanaa. 

“Surveillance is ongoing and we will not allow the transfer of technology to terrorist groups,” he said, condemning the Houthi militia’s attack on the Al-Anad Air Base in Lahij Governorate as a “terrorist act.”

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