A war of words in Yemen: Houthi rebels denounce Saudi air strikes as President Hadi asks the Arab League for help in driving out the militants.
The Saudi-led coalition has said air strikes on Sana’a will not stop until Yemen is once more able to continue with a United Nations-backed political transition.
Houthi rebels controlling the Yemeni capital have strongly condemned the attacks, which have led to the closure of the international airport and prevented UN staff from evacuating the country.
Ali al-Asemi, spoke on behalf of the Shia Houthis:
“We visited Sana’a International Airport today and found the infrastructure and runways destroyed because of Saudi agression and arrogance,” he said. “This tyrant has no legitimacy and no justification at all.”
Houthi militants are also fighting on the outskirts of Aden, Yemen’s second city, where President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi has been seeking refuge since February, 2015.
Reports suggest 80 diplomats have been evacuated by sea from the city, while 140 UN staff are said to have been flown out of the country.
Arab League summit
Meanwhile, security was stepped up in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where leaders have gathered for an Arab League summit expected to focus on the situation in Yemen.
There, Yemen’s President Hadi asked for help in fighting back against the militia threatening to cause civil war in the country.
“The Houthis are violating our sovereignty,” he said. “They are the ones who blew up places of worship and who stole from military bases and took over civil institutions. They are the ones who took over cities and provinces, who imposed a siege on the legitimate president.”
Joint military action to fight hardline Islamists in the region was also on the agenda. Alarmed by the unrest in neighbouring Libya, Egypt’s President al-Sisi has been a strong advocate of tackling the region’s problems with combined forces.