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Yemen to request Gulf Cooperation Council membership

'We will present a plan in Saudi Arabia next month,' says spokesman

Aden: Yemen's government will request membership in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the country’s spokesman said on Wednesday.

“We will present a plan in Saudi Arabia next month that will prepare Yemen to be included in the GCC,” Rajeh Badi told Reuters by telephone from Qatar.

Al Houthi rebels’ tanks and sniper fire killed at least 12 civilians overnight in Yemen’s Aden as they advanced toward the centre of the city, residents said, and a Saudi-led coalition airdropped arms to anti Al Houthi fighters in the city of Taiz.

Local fighters backed by Arab coalition air strikes nationwide have been battling the Iran-allied Al Houthis for a month but on Wednesday the militants had taken several more streets in the port city.

Al Houthis took the capital Sana’a in September, demanding a more inclusive government, and swept south, rattling top world oil exporter Saudi Arabia and its allies, who fear what they see as expanding Iranian influence in the region.

Fighting was still raging in the Khor Maksar district of Aden, seen as the main bulwark against Al Houthis, early on Wednesday.

Residents and city officials said the group shelled government buildings and residential neighbourhoods controlled by their armed opponents, and dozens of families had fled. “The world, the coalition and the United Nations need to step in urgently to save our neighbourhood, which has truly become a disaster area after this indiscriminate shelling,” resident Ali Mohammad Yahya said.

Several Arab air strikes pounded Al Houthi positions in the city’s suburbs, residents said.

About 200 km to the north, Arab aircraft dropped weapons for tribal and Islamist militiamen fighting Al Houthis in the city of Taiz, where they have been battling the group with heavy artillery in city streets for days.

Talks with President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi collapsed in early April and he went into exile. Chaos then set in as the Iran-allied Al Houthi militiamen fought their way south, battling loyalist army units and regional tribes.

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