ADEN — Aircraft from the Saudi-led coalition bombed Al Houthi militia positions in Sana’a overnight on Sunday, residents and local media said, aiming to shore up supporters of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh as they battle the Iran-aligned Al Houthis.
Saleh announced on Saturday he was ready to turn a “new page” in ties with the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen if it ended its intervention in Yemen, in a move that could pave the way to end nearly three years of war.
The apparent shift in position came as Saleh’s supporters battled Al Houthi militants in Hadda, a district in southern Sana’a where members of Saleh’s family, including his nephew Tareq, live. It was the fourth day of clashes sparked by what Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) called an attempt to seize a main mosque in the city.
The fighting has killed dozens of people and wounded hundreds, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, and raised concern of further casualties among civilians.
The clashes had added a new layer to an already complex situation in Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Middle East.
Saleh’s announcement was welcomed by the Saudi-led coalition, which has battled the Al Houthi-Saleh alliance that had controlled most of northern Yemen since 2015 and forced President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi into exile.
Al Arabiya television said coalition aircraft pounded Al Houthi outposts in southern Sana’a, but gave no details on casualties. Residents reported at least five air strikes shook the highlands of the area.
Inside the city, residents said that Al Houthi militants seized television studios of Yemen Today, a news channel owned by Saleh, after clashes that damaged the building. Residents said 20 employees were trapped inside the building.
Saleh had on Saturday issued his message to the Saudi-led coalition in a speech broadcast from the studios.
Yemen descended into violence in late 2014 when Al Houthis marched on Sana’a and seized control of the government.
The militants, backed by government troops loyal to Saleh, resumed its march south and attacked Hadi’s interim capital in Aden.