(Bloomberg) — Forces loyal to Yemeni President Abdurabuh
Mansur Hadi seized the international airport in Aden from rebel
fighters linked to Iran, four days after a Saudi-led coalition
started bombing rebel positions.
The battle Saturday in the southern port city killed 14
people, including nine fighters loyal to the Houthi rebels,
Najeeb al-Marani, a colonel with the group, said by phone. Five
pro-Hadi fighters were also killed, Al-Khader al-Aswar, head of
the Health Ministry in Aden, said in a phone interview
The spreading of Yemen’s conflict beyond its borders has
further destabilized a region that holds more than half the
world’s oil. Saudi Arabia is heading a coalition of 10 Sunni-led
nations attacking the Houthis in an effort to force them back
into peace talks, according to Anwar Gargash, United Arab
Emirates state minister for foreign affairs.
“Yemen is headed for protracted violence on multiple
fronts,” the International Crisis Group, a conflict resolution
organization, said in a report on its website. “This
combination of proxy wars, sectarian violence, state collapse
and militia rule has become sadly familiar in the region. Nobody
is likely to win such a fight.”
The Houthis, aided by ousted former President Ali Abdullah
Saleh, have taken over large swaths of the country in the past
year, forcing Hadi to flee Sana’a. Saleh called for the
“barbaric” airstrikes to end in a speech broadcast Saturday,
saying only talks under the Arab League or United Nations would
resolve the crisis.
At a meeting of Arab leaders in Egypt on Saturday, Hadi
urged the coalition to keep up its bombing campaign until the
Houthis surrender and disarm. He called the Houthis puppets of
“These militias and their allies inside Yemen are obsessed
with the power of ruling and tyranny, like their allies abroad,
who want to use Yemen to disrupt the region,” Hadi said.
The Houthis say they operate independently of Iran and
represent only their group’s interests. They follow the Zaidi
branch of Shiite Islam, like about 40 percent of Yemen’s people,
and are concentrated in the northern half of a country reunified
in 1990 after decades of division into two states.
Saudi’s King Salman Bin Abdulaziz told the Arab League
leaders on Saturday that the strikes would persist until
stability is restored to Yemen.
On Saturday, aircraft struck Sana’a, the capital; Saada, a
Houthi stronghold in the north; and Marib, an oil-rich province
east of Sana’a. The coalition also bombed a military airport in
the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, according to al-Masirah
television, affiliated with the Houthis.
In a press briefing, Ahmed Asseri, a Saudi officer and
spokesman for the coalition, said the campaign is targeting Scud
missiles and the Houthis no longer possess warplanes. Satellite
imagery shows the Houthis have repositioned some of the Yemeni
army’s 300 Scuds near the northern border and directed them at
Saudi Arabia, according to a Gulf diplomatic official.
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Alaa Shahine at
Amy Teibel, Tony Barrett