Violence escalates in Sanaa as Saleh loyalists battle Houthis
BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:40 P.M.) – Heavy smoke billowed over Sana’a, Saturday, as clashes between Houthi fighters and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh continued for the fourth consecutive day.
The fighting has reportedly involved heavy artillery and rocket launchers, killing scores of fighters on both sides and forcing many local residents to leave their homes.
The violence erupted on Wednesday after Saleh’s supporters allegedly refused to allow Houthis to enter the Saleh Mosque to commemorate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The next day, Saleh’s General People’s Congress reportedly accused Houthi forces of violating a truce by allegedly carrying out an attack on the house of Saleh’s nephew, Tarek Saleh, and killing three guards.
The two groups have fought against the Saudi-led coalition, which intervened in Yemen in 2015 in a bid to reinstate the government of ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. In October, the Saudi-led coalition imposed a blockade on Yemen, following an intercepted missile attack on Riyadh, for which Houthis claimed responsibility.
Earlier in the day, Saleh stated that he is open to talks with the Saudi-led coalition battling Houthi fighters, if the coalition halted its attacks on Yemen.
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