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Saudi Arabia foils Yemen rebels boat attack in Red Sea

The Saudi-led coalition said on Thursday it had foiled a booby-trapped boat attack by Yemen's Houthis in the Red Sea weeks after the rebels hit a Saudi oil tanker. A statement cited by state-run Al-Ekhbariya news channel did not identify the target of the attack but the rebel-run Saba news agency said the Houthis hit a Saudi military target inside the kingdom's territorial waters. It gave no further details. The coalition statement said "the attack by a booby-trapped boat was launched from the shores of Hodeida," a…

Shark kills Czech tourist swimming in Red Sea

CAIRO: A Czech tourist was killed by a shark while swimming in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt, authorities said Sunday. The man died 20 kilometres north of Marsa Alam city as "a result of an attack by a shark", city council chairman General Atef Wagdy told AFP. The health ministry is coordinating handing over the body to the Czech embassy, Wagdy said. Local media reported on Friday that human remains were found on a beach in Marsa Alam. The environment ministry has set up a committee to investigate the death…

Why is Saudi Arabia halting oil shipments through the Red Sea?

RIYADH/DUBAI: Saudi Arabia announced last week it was suspending oil shipments through the Red Sea’s Bab al-Mandeb strait after Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis attacked two ships in the waterway. To date, no other exporters have followed suit. A full blockage of the strategic waterway would virtually halt shipment to Europe and the United States of about 4.8 million barrels per day of crude oil and refined petroleum products. Western allies backing a Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen expressed concern…

Egypt’s top court waives legal challenges to Red Sea islands transfer to Saudi

CAIRO: Egypt’s top court on Saturday dismissed all outstanding legal challenges to a deal transferring two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, a day before a visit by its crown prince. The plan to cede the islands to Riyadh, an ally which has given billions of dollars in aid to Egypt, was announced in 2016 and became mired in political protest and legal action. The Supreme Court ruled that no other court had jurisdiction over the matter, blocking two opposing verdicts - one by the Supreme Administrative Court, which was…

Egypt court sentences activist to two years over Red Sea islands protest

CAIRO: A court in Alexandria has sentenced leading rights activist Mahienour el-Massry to two years in prison on charges of illegally protesting against the Egyptian government’s decision to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, judicial sources said on Saturday. The court tried four other people in absentia and handed them four-year sentences on the same charges, the sources said. El-Massry was detained in Egypt’s second largest city along with activist Moatasim Medhat at a court hearing in November, ahead of…

Saudi Arabia launches mega-zone on Red Sea

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced the launch of an independent economic zone on the Red Sea, three times the size of Cyprus and with a half a trillion dollars in projected investments. The zone, dubbed NEOM, covers an uninterrupted coastline of nearly 470 kilometres (290 miles) in northwestern Saudi Arabia and will extend into territories in neighbouring Jordan and Egypt, a statement released by the kingdom's Public Investment Fund said. Authorities in Jordan and Egypt did not immediately comment on the…

Richard Branson to invest in Saudi Red Sea project

JEDDAH: Virgin airlines founder Richard Branson will invest in a Red Sea project that aims to turn 50 Saudi Arabian islands into luxury tourism destinations, the Saudi government announced on Sunday. Branson is the first international investor to commit to the project, Saudi Arabia's information ministry said, in what officials called "a clear sign that Saudi Arabia is opening its doors to international tourism". Branson also visited the tombs at Madain Saleh -- an UNESCO World Heritage site located near a string of…

Saudi Arabia to launch Red Sea tourism resorts

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced the launch of a massive tourism project that will turn 50 islands and a string of sites on the Red Sea coast into luxury resorts. The plan is part of efforts to diversify the ultraconservative kingdom's oil-dependent economy following a slump in energy prices. It covers more than 180 kilometres (112 miles) on Saudi Arabia's western coastline, stretching from Umm Lajj to Al-Wajh. Initial investments will be provided by the Public Investment Fund before the project is opened…