Middle East Updates / ISIS Says Ready to Carry Out Attacks in France

UAE closes Yemen embassy as clashes continue; Pipeline blast halts oil flows from Libya's El Sarir field to port; two suicide car bomb attacks thwarted at last minute in Egypt, police say.

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Yemeni supporters of the separatist Southern Movement pray at a demonstration in Aden to demand renewed interdependence for the south, February 13, 2015.
Yemeni supporters of the separatist Southern Movement pray at a demonstration in Aden to demand renewed interdependence for the south, February 13, 2015.Credit: AFP
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Haaretz

For Friday's updates click here

9:35 P.M. Gulf States urge UN to enforce resolution in Yemen

Gulf foreign ministers on Saturday urged the United Nations Security Council to authorise coercive measures to try to resolve the crisis in Yemen, the Saudi-owned news channel Al Arabiya reported.

An emergency meeting of members of the Gulf Cooperation Council urged the Council to pass a "Chapter 7" resolution, which authorises the use of military force or economic sanctions to enforce Council resolutions, the channel said.

A Shi'ite Muslim militia formally took power in impoverished and strife-torn Yemen this month, in a move that its energy-rich Sunni Muslim Gulf neighbours have denounced as a coup. (Reuters)

7:00 P.M. Islamic State says ready to carry out attacks in France

Islamic State said it was prepared to carry out terror attacks in France in a newly published video, Al-Jazeera reported on Saturday.

Titled "A letter to France," the video is addressed to the people of France and Belgium, French President Francois Holland, and former president Nicholas Sarkozy. "France's real nightmare starts now," the video states, saying it will execute further attacks in Paris as a response to the crossing of "all the red lines" by France.

Islamic State fighters "are everywhere," the video states, warning that fighters stationed in Paris and Brussels are awaiting instructions to act, in response to ridicule directed against the Prophet Mohammed. (Haaretz)

12:16 P.M. Pipeline blast halts oil flows from Libya's El Sarir field to port

A blast at a pipeline has halted oil flows from Libya's El Sarir oilfield to the Hariga port, a spokesman for the state-run NOC oil company said on Saturday.

A tanker was loading at the port and repairs to the pipeline could take up to three days, the official said. He said it was unclear whether the blast was an accident or a bomb attack. (Reuters) 

10:42 A.M. Former PM Hariri in Lebanon for anniversary of father's assassination

Lebanon's former prime minister Saad al-Hariri arrived back in the country overnight on a rare visit and will make a speech on Saturday to mark the 10th anniversary of his father Rafik's assassination, Lebanese media said.

He will speak at a ceremony dedicated to his father in central Beirut, state news agency NNA and pro-Hariri newspaper al-Mustaqbal said. Soldiers patrolled streets near the venue in the capital on Saturday and blocked off traffic.

Rafik al-Hariri was killed in a 2005 Beirut waterfront bombing that brought the country back to the brink of civil war. (Reuters)

10:27 A.M. Two suicide car bomb attacks thwarted in Egypt, police say

Police in Egypt say they have thwarted two Islamic militant suicide car bomb attacks on a police station in the restive northern Sinai.

Police officials said Saturday the attack in the town of Sheikh Zuweyid wounded two police officers.

Police say guards in the police station's towers fired at the cars, which exploded before reaching the building. They say the explosion shattered windows and damaged parts of the police station and some surrounding houses.

The officials say an investigation into the attack has begun. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to brief journalists. (AP)

8:39 A.M. Yemen clashes kill 26 as embassy closures continue

Clashes between Shi'ite Houthi militiamen and Sunni tribesmen fighting alongside Al-Qaida militants killed 26 people in Yemen, local officials said, as the United Arab Emirates joined Saudi Arabia and Western countries in closing its embassy in the country.

Heavy fighting was ongoing in the southern mountainous province of al-Bayda, leading to the death of 16 Houthi rebels along with 10 Sunni tribesmen and militants, security officials and tribal sources told Reuters.

The state faces collapse in Yemen two weeks after the Houthi group took formal control of the country and continued an armed push southward. (Reuters) 

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