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Arab League agrees to form coalition to counter militant threat in region

Arab League agrees to form coalition to counter militant threat in region
By Sarah Taylor with Reuters, AP
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Could Saudi ground troops be making their way to Yemen? Images emerge purporting to show a convoy making its way to the border, as Arab leaders agree to join forces to fight hardline militants in the


The second and final day of the Arab League Summit has come to a close in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

With the conflicts in Yemen and Libya high on the agenda, leaders from the region had to decide whether or not to combine forces in the fight against hardline Islamists.

Bahrain spoke out against foreign forces becoming involved in battles in Iraq, Syria or Libya, saying these countries need to resolve their issues “independently”.

But a draft of the final communiqué from the summit says growing security threats in the region mean a coalition force will now be formed.

The draft adds that the group will repeat a call made by Yemen’s President Hadi asking Shia Houthi rebels to leave the capital Sana’a and hand over their weaponry to so-called ‘legitimate’ authorities.

Neighbouring Saudi Arabia has already pledged support for Yemen with air strikes on militant positions.

A recently-released, unverified video, purports also to show a convoy of Saudi tanks edging towards the Yemeni border. It emerged as Yemen’s foreign minister, Riyadh Yaseen, hinted ground troops would be deployed in the battle against the Houthis.

Officials have not confirmed the use of Saudi tanks. However authorities say air strikes have eliminated many of the ballistic missiles rebel fighters captured from forces loyal to Hadi.

The president took up residence in Aden in February. But a rebel offensive on Yemen’s second city means he will remain in an Arab capital, Yaseen reports.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has sent passenger jets to Yemen to evacuate its nationals. It says arrangements have been made for the convoy of 600 Pakistanis moving towards the port of Hodeida on the Red Sea.

The United Nations has also made efforts to remove staff members from the country, amid fears Yemen is heading for civil war.

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