Yemen tribal fighters take Houthi hostages

Forces allied to deposed Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh facilitated the entry of Houthis into Shabwah province

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Tribal fighters in Yemen’s Shabwah province and the governorate of Abyan took 15 Houthi militias as hostages, Al Arabiya News Channel reported on Sunday.

Preparations to expel Houthi militia from Ataq, Shabwah’s main city, were ongoing, the commander of a coalition of tribes in Shabwah said, adding that forces allied to deposed Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh facilitated the entry of Houthis into the city.

Meanwhile, scores of Houthis were killed in Taez in two ambushes set up by the Popular Resistance Committees, local tribes allied with Yemen’s exiled President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi.

Saudi Arabia and a coalition of regional countries launched a military campaign against the Iran-backed Houthis on March 26, vowing to continue to fight until Yemen is stable and secure again.

The conflict in Yemen poses a threat on countries in the Gulf, especially neighboring Saudi Arabia.

More than 500 Houthi militia have died in clashes with the Saudi military on the border alone since the beginning of “Operation Decisive Storm,” the Saudi defense ministry said Saturday, according to Saudi Press Agency.

Asked how that figure was derived, Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri, the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, said: "they [Saudi army] have a lot of capabilities in the matter of cameras, videos, infra-reds. They have the Apache which has all the capabilities to identify targets."

Coalition forces have deployed helicopter gunships after cross-border attacks killed three Saudi soldiers – the first army soldiers to die since late March.

"We will not allow any of these militia to harm our borders," said Asiri.

AFP reporters saw Saudi tanks, artillery and armored personnel carriers stationed near the southwestern frontier last week.

Houthi militia overran the capital Sanaa in September and expanded to other parts of Yemen.

Riyadh feared the rebels would take over the entire country and move it into the orbit of Iran, Sunni Saudi Arabia's regional rival.

[With AFP]

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