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Saudi Arabia destroys Houthi drone launched towards Khamis Mushait

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Saudi Arabia’s defenses destroyed a drone launched by the Iran-backed Houthi militia towards the Kingdom’s Khamis Mushait, the Arab Coalition said.

The drone took off from Sana’a International Airport in Yemen, the coalition said.

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The Iran-backed militia has continued targeting Saudi areas and civilian objects.

On Thursday, a “hostile” projectile launched by the Houthis fell on civilian objects in Saudi Arabia’s Ahad al-Masarihah, a Governorate in Jazan, resulting in material damages, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The media spokesman for the Civil Defense Directorate in the Kingdom’s Jazan region, Colonel Mohammed al-Ghamdi, said that the directorate received a report about the fall of a hostile projectile launched by the “Iranian-backed terrorist Houthi militia from Yemeni territory towards the industrial area of Ahad al-Masarihah,” the press agency reported him as saying.

A top State Department official said that Saudi Arabia was a strong and “very capable” partner in the fight against terrorism. Speaking after the release of the 2020 Country Report on Terrorism, Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism John Godfrey praised Riyadh for its work.

“Saudi Arabia remains a strong and active and very capable counterterrorism partner of the United States,” Godfrey said in response to a question from a reporter during a phone briefing.

He said the US would continue to partner with Saudi Arabia against terrorism in the region as well as in the context of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and the Global Counterterrorism Forum.

“Saudi Arabia is an active member of both of those,” he added.

Read more:

US lauds Saudi Arabia as strong, ‘very capable’ partner in fight against terror

Projectile launched by Iran-backed Houthis damages civilian objects in Saudi Arabia

Arab Coalition intercepts two Houthi missiles targeting Abha in Saudi Arabia

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Russian and UK defense ministers to meet over Ukraine

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Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has accepted an invitation to meet his British counterpart Ben Wallace to discuss the crisis on the Russia-Ukraine border, a senior UK defense source said Saturday.

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“The Defense Secretary is glad that Russia has accepted the invitation to talk with his counterpart,” the source said.

“Given the last defense bilateral between our two countries took place in London in 2013, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has offered to meet in Moscow instead,” added the source.

“The Secretary of State has been clear that he will explore all avenues to achieve stability and a resolution to the Ukraine crisis.”

Tens of thousands of Russian troops are massed on Ukraine’s border, along with an arsenal of tanks, fighting vehicles, artillery and missiles.

Russia has denied it plans to invade but the White House believes an attack could now come “at any point.”

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss warned on Friday that Moscow risks becoming embroiled in a “terrible quagmire” if it invades.

In a speech in Australia, the UK’s top diplomat issued a blunt and personal warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin that he is on the brink of making a major strategic blunder.

He “has not learned the lessons of history,” Truss told Sydney’s Lowy Institute.

“The Ukrainians will fight this, it could be a quagmire” she said.

Britain is among a handful of Western nations rushing weapons such as anti-tank missiles to Ukraine.

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US, Russia work to lower friction in Ukraine issue as invasion fears loom

Russia to hold huge naval drill with 140 warships, 60 aircraft as tensions heighten

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At least six killed in blast in western Afghan city of Herat

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A blast ripped through a minivan in the western Afghan city of Herat on Saturday, killing at least six people, according to officials.

Herat commander Mawlawi Ansari told Reuters that nine people had been injured. The cause of the blast was not clear.

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A health official in Herat, who asked not to be named, said an explosion hit a small van used for public transport just after 1800 local time and that three of the injured were in serious condition.

Since the Taliban took over in August, a series of blasts and attacks, some claimed by Islamic State, have taken place across Afghanistan.

The attacks have heightened the new administration’s security challenges as the country spirals into an economic crisis.

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Arab League delays annual summit as COVID-19 bites again

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The Arab League has announced it is delaying its annual summit scheduled for March 22 in Algiers because of COVID-19 after two years of cancellations due to the pandemic.

“Every year, the summit is held in March, but this year, there has been a delay,” the pan-Arab organization’s assistant secretary general, Hossam Zaki, said in televised remarks Friday, a week after returning to Cairo from a visit to Algiers.

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The last Arab League summit was held in Tunis in March 2019. The past two years’ gatherings have been cancelled due to the pandemic.

Zaki added that Algeria “preferred the option” of delaying the summit, noting that the critical mass of Arab leaders and high-ranking officials needed for the summit could not be guaranteed due to the public health situation.

Arab foreign ministers are expected to announce a new date for the summit during their scheduled meeting on March 9, Zaki said.

Zaki said that there were “no political reasons” behind the delay, but the time could be used to “improve political climates” in the region.

The summit is important for Algeria, which has been seeking to expand its political sphere of influence, against the backdrop of heightened tensions with Morocco.

No agenda has been announced for this year’s summit, but the Arab world remains plagued with multiple conflicts and crises.

These extend from the war in Yemen, which has killed nearly 400,000 people since 2015, to the 2021 coup in Sudan that resulted in its suspension from the African Union, as well as protracted crises in Libya, Lebanon and beyond.

Read more:

Arab League to host extraordinary meeting to discuss Iran-backed Houthi attack on UAE

US commits to helping Saudi Arabia, Gulf partners defend against threats from Yemen

Libyan eastern parliament speaker calls for new government

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