Yemeni president fires army chief of staff

The decision comes as Houthi rebels delay their pullback from the capital Sanaa

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Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi has fired his armed forces chief of staff as Houthi rebels continue to occupy the capital Sanaa they seized since last September, Al Arabiya News Channel reported on Sunday

President Hadi issued a decree replacing Ahmed Ali al-Ashouel with General Hussein Naji Hadi Khairan.

Ashouel moved to the Majlis al-Shura (consultative council), the lower chamber of parliament.

Ashouel’s dismissal comes as Shiite Houthi rebels delay a withdrawal they agreed to under a U.N.-brokered accord in September.

The rebels swept south from its rugged northern stronghold to capture Sanaa before then extending its influence into central and west Yemen.

The rebels were able to take over several government arms depots including those housing heavy weapons.

This further eroded the authority of the mostly Sunni Muslim state, already weakened by persistent attacks from Al-Qaeda militants in the south and east and by a southern separatist movement.

The rebels have since faced a growing insurgency from al-Qaeda and opposing tribes in the capital and other areas.

On Monday, five roadside bombs targeted them in Sanaa, wounding several people, the ministry of defence website said.

The bombs targeted Houthi checkpoints and some houses, the ministry website quoted Sanaa's director of security as saying. Two other devices were dismantled, the ministry added.

A medical source said eight people had been wounded and three of them were in a critical condition.

[With AFP]

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