Yemen rebels take control of southern city

2015-05-30 22:01


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Sanaa - Shi'ite Houthi rebels and their allies took control of a strategic city in the southern Yemeni province of Shabwa on Saturday, security officials and witnesses said, as Saudi-led coalition warplanes continue airstrikes across the country in an effort to push back the rebels' advance.

Tribal officials said the city of Saeed fell into the hands of the Houthis and their allies following a change of allegiance from a number of tribes in the area.

Security officials accused local tribal sheikhs and military leaders of accepting money and weapons from the Houthi's allies to facilitate their entry into the area. They say dozens of fighters were killed in the two-day long battle, along with six civilians.

A Saudi-led coalition has been targeting the Houthis since March 26. Saudi Arabia and the West accuse Iran of supporting the Houthis militarily, something Tehran and the rebels both deny.

Meanwhile the ongoing fighting on the ground in Yemen pits the Houthis and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against supporters of embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Yemeni security and medical officials said at least eight civilians were killed on Saturday as a result of violent clashes in the cities of Aden, Taiz and Marib.

Military officials said battles raged between pro-Hadi militias and the Houthis north of Dhale, after a Houthi attack aimed to retake control of the strategic city. Fighters aligned with Hadi managed to wrest control of the city last week.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to journalists.

Meanwhile, UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed held consultations with Yemeni political groups in the capital, Sanaa, after peace talks were indefinitely postponed earlier this week.

Read more on:    yemen  |  security

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