A damaged building is pictured in the war-torn southwestern city of Taiz, Yemen August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Anees Mahyoub
A damaged building is pictured in the war-torn southwestern city of Taiz, Yemen August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Anees Mahyoub

Yemeni loyalist forces only 4km from breaking Taez siege



ADEN // Yemeni pro-government forces were only four kilometres away from breaking the rebels’ siege on the city of Taez on Thursday, said a resistance leader.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a leader of the popular resistance movement in Taez told The National: "We launched this military operation to break the siege on the city, and we need only to advance around four kilometres to do it. However there are a lot of landmines planted in these four kilometres, but we will advance soon."

He said air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis had been vital in helping fighters on the ground to advance.

The Shiite Houthis, who are backed by Iran, have held Taez under siege for a year. Loyalist forces backed by the coalition, which includes UAE forces, succeeded in breaking the Houthi siege in March but only briefly.

The source said the offensive against the Houthis around Taez was timed to coincide with the anniversary a year ago of the liberation of some central districts of the city. Despite the liberation of these areas, however, the rebels kept control of all roads into Taez.

“The fighters of the resistance and the Yemeni army have made advances on the eastern front, and recaptured the area surrounding [the] Hassanat school,” he said. “A sniper positioned in a house near the school has also been killed, and we have fired on a tank near to the republican palace, which is one of the Houthis’ headquarters in the city. But we are focusing on the western front to break the siege.”

Pro-government forces had already taken back control of several areas on the western front including the districts of Al Miqhayah, Al Dhiab hills, Al Saleh gardens, and Ghorab hill, in the western part of Taez but clashes were still continuing, the source added.

He confirmed that about 40 Houthis had been killed and dozens wounded – far more than the casualties suffered by pro-government forces, although he declined to specify numbers. Other sources said five government soldiers had been killed. Pro-government activist Abdel Majid Al Dhababi confirmed troops had made progress after months of trying to break the siege of Taez. But the main road leading to Aden was still unsafe, which prevented civilians from escaping south, he added.

Violence also rocked the southern province of Abyan on Thursday where an Al Qaeda suicide car bomber killed four Yemeni soldiers and wounded four others, according to military officials.

The bomber rammed his car into two military vehicles parked on a road linking the towns of Loder and Moudia, one military official said.

The attack comes after government forces launched an anti-extremist operation in Abyan and follows the recapture of both towns from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

foreign.desk@thenational.ae

UAE SQUAD

Jemma Eley, Maria Michailidou, Molly Fuller, Chloe Andrews (of Dubai College), Eliza Petricola, Holly Guerin, Yasmin Craig, Caitlin Gowdy (Dubai English Speaking College), Claire Janssen, Cristiana Morall (Jumeirah English Speaking School), Tessa Mies (Jebel Ali School), Mila Morgan (Cranleigh Abu Dhabi).

Last 10 NBA champions

2017: Golden State bt Cleveland 4-1
2016: Cleveland bt Golden State 4-3
2015: Golden State bt Cleveland 4-2
2014: San Antonio bt Miami 4-1
2013: Miami bt San Antonio 4-3
2012: Miami bt Oklahoma City 4-1
2011: Dallas bt Miami 4-2
2010: Los Angeles Lakers bt Boston 4-3
2009: Los Angeles Lakers bt Orlando 4-1
2008: Boston bt Los Angeles Lakers 4-2

The biog

Fast facts on Neil Armstrong’s personal life:

  • Armstrong was born on August 5, 1930, in Wapakoneta, Ohio
  • He earned his private pilot’s license when he was 16 – he could fly before he could drive
  • There was tragedy in his married life: Neil and Janet Armstrong’s daughter Karen died at the age of two in 1962 after suffering a brain tumour. She was the couple’s only daughter. Their two sons, Rick and Mark, consulted on the film
  • After Armstrong departed Nasa, he bought a farm in the town of Lebanon, Ohio, in 1971 – its airstrip allowed him to tap back into his love of flying
  • In 1994, Janet divorced Neil after 38 years of marriage. Two years earlier, Neil met Carol Knight, who became his second wife in 1994 
RESULTS

1.45pm: Green Oasis Trading – Maiden (PA) Dh50,000 (Dirt) 1,400m
Winner: Meeqat, Saif Al Balushi (jockey), Khalifa Al Neyadi (trainer)
2.15pm: Al Shafar Investment – Maiden (TB) Dh60,000 (D) 1,400m
Winner: Flying Hunter, Ray Dawson, Ahmad bin Harmash
2.45pm: The Union 51 Cup – Handicap (TB) Dh84,000 (D) 1,400m
Winner: Ibra Attack, Adrie de Vries, Ahmed Al Shemaili
3.15pm: ASCANA Thakaful – Maiden (TB) Dh60,000 (D) 1,200m
Winner: Onda Ruggente, Royston Ffrench, Salem bin Ghadayer
3.45pm: Commercial Bank of Dubai – Handicap (TB) Dh76,000 (D) 1,200m
Winner: Dignity Joy, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi
4.15pm: Dubai Real Estate Centre – Handicap (TB) Dh76,000 (D) 1,600m
Winner: Tolmount, Xavier Ziani, Salem bin Ghadayer
4.45pm: Jebel Ali Racecourse – Handicap (TB) Dh84,000 (D) 1,950m
Winner: Rakeez, Tadhg O’Shea, Bhupat Seemar

The specs

Engine: 6.2-litre V8

Transmission: ten-speed

Power: 420bhp

Torque: 624Nm

Price: Dh325,125

On sale: Now

Ipaf in numbers

Established: 2008

Prize money:  $50,000 (Dh183,650) for winners and $10,000 for those on the shortlist.

Winning novels: 13

Shortlisted novels: 66

Longlisted novels: 111

Total number of novels submitted: 1,780

Novels translated internationally: 66

Torbal Rayeh Wa Jayeh
Starring: Ali El Ghoureir, Khalil El Roumeithy, Mostafa Abo Seria
Stars: 3

INDIA SQUADS

India squad for third Test against Sri Lanka
Virat Kohli (capt), Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Vijay Shankar

India squad for ODI series against Sri Lanka
Rohit Sharma (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul

Tax authority targets shisha levy evasion

The Federal Tax Authority will track shisha imports with electronic markers to protect customers and ensure levies have been paid.

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, director of the tax authority, on Sunday said the move is to "prevent tax evasion and support the authority’s tax collection efforts".

The scheme’s first phase, which came into effect on 1st January, 2019, covers all types of imported and domestically produced and distributed cigarettes. As of May 1, importing any type of cigarettes without the digital marks will be prohibited.

He said the latest phase will see imported and locally produced shisha tobacco tracked by the final quarter of this year.

"The FTA also maintains ongoing communication with concerned companies, to help them adapt their systems to meet our requirements and coordinate between all parties involved," he said.

As with cigarettes, shisha was hit with a 100 per cent tax in October 2017, though manufacturers and cafes absorbed some of the costs to prevent prices doubling.

Match statistics

Dubai Sports City Eagles 8 Dubai Exiles 85

Eagles
Try:
Bailey
Pen: Carey

Exiles
Tries:
Botes 3, Sackmann 2, Fourie 2, Penalty, Walsh, Gairn, Crossley, Stubbs
Cons: Gerber 7
Pens: Gerber 3

Man of the match: Tomas Sackmann (Exiles)