Saudi-led coalition issues ultimatum over Yemen rebel stronghold

2015-05-08 18:37
(File: AFP)

(File: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sana'a - A Saudi-led coalition, mounting an air campaign for the past six weeks in Yemen, called on residents of the northern province of Saada to leave before Friday sunset - signalling further attacks on the stronghold of the Iran-backed rebel Houthis.

Allied aircraft dropped leaflets on Saada, urging civilians to leave it for safer areas through secured routes, Saudi-owned broadcaster Al Arabiya reported.

The alliance will treat the whole of Saada as a military target beginning from 19:00 (16:00 GMT), the broadcaster said.

The ultimatum prompted an exodus from the province, which was the target of intensified coalition airstrikes earlier on Friday, local residents said.

"Many civilians are still stuck in several areas of Saada because there are not enough means of transport amid a severe shortage of fuel," a resident told dpa.

"Other families have no shelter outside Saada."

Allied jets had pounded military facilities in Saada in response to shelling attacks by the Houthis on Saudi border towns, official Saudi news agency SPA reported.

The strikes destroyed a communications complex, a factory for manufacturing mines and command centres in various areas of Saada located near the Saudi border, according to the agency.

The air raids also destroyed the tomb of Hussein al-Houthi, the founder of the Shiite rebel movement.

The bombing came hours after the Saudis accused the Houthis of "crossing a red line" by attacking Saudi border towns, and vowed a "harsh response".

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia had proposed a five-day humanitarian ceasefire in Yemen to facilitate the delivery of aid to civilians.

The kingdom conditioned the deal on Houthi rebels agreeing to abide by its terms. There was no official comment from the rebels.

Details of the ceasefire were expected to be worked out at a meeting in Paris on Friday between US Secretary of State John Kerry and foreign ministers of the Gulf Co-operation Council, which includes Saudi Arabia.

The talks were also to prepare for a meeting due later this month between US President Barack Obama and Gulf leaders, according to Al Arabiya.

In March, Saudi Arabia and eight fellow Sunni Arab countries launched an air campaign against the Shi'ite Houthis after they advanced on Yemen's second city of Aden, forcing Sunni President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi to flee the country.

The intervention has been repeatedly denounced by Iran, a regional rival of Saudi Arabia.

Read more on:    saudi arabia  |  yemen

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.