Trump calls on Saudi Arabia to lift Yemen blockade

Ebony Scott
December 7, 2017

A coalition of Persian Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia is engaged in a bombing campaign against Houthi rebels who overthrew Yemen's Saudi-friendly government in 2014. Saleh loyalists accused the Houthi fighters of raiding their bases across Sana'a and beyond, an allegation that the Houthi leader has strongly denied.

The Saudi-led military coalition backing Hadi's government carried out a wave of air strikes on the capital and warned residents to evacuate areas under rebel control. "He got what he deserved", Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to Iran's supreme leader, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

The head of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard says a plot against Yemen's Shiite rebels was "nipped in the bud", apparently referring to the killing of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Fierce clashes broke out in Sanaa last week between Saleh supporters and the Iran-backed Houthis as a fragile alliance between the two sides broke down.

The coalition bombed Saleh's residence and other houses of his family members, Yemen's pro-Houthi al-Masirah television station said.

A video circulating online on Monday showed Saleh's body with a gaping head wound dumped in a pickup truck by rebels — a grisly end recalling that of longtime strongman Saleh's contemporary, Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, in 2011.

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Saleh on Saturday announced he was open to talks with Saudi Arabia and its allies on condition they ended their crippling blockade of Yemen's ports and airports. The coalition threw its support behind Saleh when he turned on the rebels, and may now back his son.

- More than 200 people have already died from the war in Yemen this month, with over 400 injuries.

Saleh's slaying likely gives the rebels the upper hand in the dayslong fighting for the country's capital, Sanaa.

The war and blockade has plunged Yemen into a major humanitarian disaster, leaving 20 million people in need of aid. They briefly lost control of much of the city in the recent fighting with Saleh supporters before making a dramatic comeback.

But over the past year, the Houthis appear to have undermined Saleh, wooing away some of his commanders.

The casualty tolls provided by the ICRC are separate from those sustained in airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition which is waging war on the rebels, known as Houthis. Witnesses said the bodies of slain civilians and fighters littered the streets as ambulances were unable to reach them. Speaking to reporters by phone from Sanaa, he said that "at the same time, people are bracing themselves for more".

Other reports by GizPress

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