Arab states agree to form unified military force
The agreement came after warplanes from Saudi Arabia and Arab allies struck Houthi targets in their Yemen offensive
Arab foreign ministers meeting in Egypt on Thursday agreed to establish a unified military force for rapid intervention to deal with security threats to Arab nations.
The ministers “agreed on an important principle, to establish the force,” Arab League secretary-general Nabil al-Arabi said at a news conference.
“The ministers all agreed,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said, Agence France-Presse reported.
The agreement came after warplanes from Saudi Arabia and Arab allies struck Shiite Muslim Houthi rebels fighting to oust Yemen's president on Thursday, in a major gamble by the world's top oil exporter to check Iranian influence in its backyard without direct military backing from Washington.
The task of the force will be rapid military intervention to deal with security threats to Arab nations, Egyptian TV added. The ministers asked the secretary of the Arab League to coordinate with Arab armies’ chiefs of staff within one month to form the unified force.
In the fresh barrage of strikes, Saudi-led coalition warplanes targeted a rebel-held military base in third city Taez, local officials and witnesses said.
The attack hit the Al-Tariq airbase in Taez, located in southwestern Yemen, they said.
Air strikes also targeted arms depots in Malaheez region in the rebels' northern stronghold of Saada, near the border with Saudi Arabia, witnesses said.
Raids also struck the civil airport in Saada, according to the same sources.