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Sudan-Saudi navies in first exercises: media
by Staff Writers
Khartoum (AFP) Feb 17, 2013

Yemen court jails 3 Albanians over arms smuggling
Aden (AFP) Feb 17, 2013 - A Yemeni court on Sunday sentenced three Albanians arrested in the eastern Hadramawt province to six years in prison for smuggling arms and explosives into the country, a judicial source said.

The three were arrested in December as they smuggled 179.5 tonnes of ammunition in a ship and were found guilty of trafficking military equipment into Yemen, the source said.

The judge "read the verdict in which the defendants were sentenced to six years and the ship and explosives confiscated," the source added, saying their case was heard by a court specialised in terrorism cases.

The defendants, whose trial began in January, said they will appeal the verdict, and insisted that they had stopped in the port city of Mukalla to refuel the ship, the source said.

The ship, with flags of Kenya and Moldova on it, had arrived from Monte Negro.

The charge sheet says the boat remained in international waters before entering Yemen's territorial waters where its crew claimed they wanted to refuel.

In a separate case Yemeni authorities last month seized what they say is a ship loaded with Iran-linked arms. The eight-member Yemeni crew of the ship are being questioned.

The navies of Sudan and Saudi Arabia have launched their first joint military exercises in the Red Sea, the official SUNA news agency reported on Sunday.

The training is to run until Wednesday and focus on anti-smuggling operations and "boosting security and stability", SUNA quoted Sudan's military spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad as saying.

Two Saudi naval vessels and troops are participating, he said.

The exercise comes after warships from Iran, with which Saudi Arabia has tense relations, docked at Port Sudan last October and December.

At the time, Saad described the Iranian port calls as part of normal military exchanges between the two states.

Israeli officials have expressed concern about arms smuggling through Sudan, and the visits by Tehran's navy came after Khartoum accused the Jewish state of an October 23 air strike against a military factory in the capital.

The incident led to speculation that Iranian weapons were stored or manufactured there.

Israel refused all comment on Sudan's accusation about the factory blast, while Sudan's foreign ministry denied Iran had any involvement in the plant.

Bahrain dismantles 'terror cell': ministry
Manama (AFP) Feb 17, 2013 - Bahrain has dismantled a "terrorist cell" linked to Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, the interior minister said, slamming what he called "escalation" in the kingdom as the Shiite opposition intensifies its protests.

Security services "have, with the help of a brotherly country, arrested the members of a terrorist cell made up of eight Bahraini elements," state news agency BNA late Saturday quoted Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa as saying.

The eight "moved between Iran, Iraq and Lebanon and received training in using arms and explosives as well as financial aid," he said. "Details about the case will be announced as soon as the investigation is completed."

Sheikh Rashid also denounced the "escalation in violence" in the Sunni-ruled kingdom where a protester and a policeman were killed during Shiite-led protests to mark the second anniversary of a 2011 uprising there on Thursday.

He said "terrorist acts had taken place over the past three days" in which "two people were killed and 75 policemen were wounded," adding that "there has been an escalation... with the use of firearms" and explosives.

Witnesses said that authorities have arrested many Shiite activists over the past few days.

Bahrain has seen two years of political upheaval linked to opposition demands for a real constitutional monarchy, with the unrest claiming at least 80 lives, according to international rights groups.

The latest unrest comes against the background of a fresh round of a national dialogue between opposition groups and the government.


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