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Yemen rebel alliance crumbles as 'street war' rocks capital; coalition jets hit Al Houthis

UAE calls for support to national revolt against Iran-backed militia

Image Credit: AFP
Smoke billows from behind a building in the Yemeni capital Sanaa during clashes.

Dubai: The Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes on Yemen’s capital Sana’a overnight, local media said, lending support to loyalists of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh after he signalled a strategy shift that could pave the way to end the war.

In a speech on Saturday, Saleh appeared to indicate the end of his loyalists’ alliance with Al Houthi militants, saying he was ready to turn a “new page” in ties with the Saudi-led coalition fighting Al Houthis, if it stopped its intervention in Yemen.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash tweeted that “the situation in Sana’a is vague, its national uprising needs support and the war which was described as senseless by the confused party is meant to safeguard the Arabian peninsula against Iranian expansion and the Al Houthi gangs. Whatever the outcome of the blessed uprising in Sana’a, it is clear that Yemenis have rejected the Iran-backed Al Houthi militias. The uprising has also reaffirmed that the dominance of terrorism and force is temporary, and Yemen’s natural place is in the Arab fold.”

Al Houthi fighters patrol a street in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on December 3, 2017, during clashes with supporters of Yemeni ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh. - AFP

The internationally recognised President of Yemen, Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, has hailed the uprising led by Saleh against the Al Houthis.

Fresh clashes forced schools to shut and shops shuttered in Sana’a, as residents warned a three-year rebel alliance was crumbling into a “street war”.

Witnesses said forces loyal to Saleh had cut off a number of streets in central Sana’a and deployed heavily in anticipation of a possible attack by Al Houthi militants.

Internationally-recognised President of Yemen Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi (right), and ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh. - Gulf News File

Misinformation campaign

Meanwhile, the UAE’s National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority on Sunday denied Al Houthis’ claims of having launched a missile towards the UAE.

The authority said the UAE’s air defence system is capable of dealing with threats of any kind.

The UAE called on the public not to pay attention to misleading rumours being circulated by the anti-state media, which are aimed at spreading false news in order to question the capabilities of the UAE, its strength and security.