Potentially-big news out of Yemen.
We’ve provided quite a bit of coverage on a rebel group called the Houthi. The Houthi are an Iranian-backed Shia rebel group currently gaining ground in Yemen. Earlier this year, they moved out of their territory in the north and seized control of the capital city of Sana’a, sending the President and government officials on the run to the important port city of Aden.
Iran has repeatedly denied supporting the Houthi. To admit supporting the rebel group would be to admit supporting the increased threat to the shared border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and responsibility for upping tensions in the region.
The era of denial may have come to an end this weekend. Local militiamen claim that during Friday night’s fighting, they captured two Iranian military officers—a colonel and a captain, specifically—advising Houthi rebels in Aden.
An initial investigation allegedly placed the two men with the Quds Force, the special forces division of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Militia members have indicated that they will be handed over to the Saudi-led coalition.
Meanwhile, the fighting between local forces and the Houthi has increased in its intensity.
Bolstered by the air raids, local armed groups have been resisting the southward advance of the northern-based Shi’ite Muslim Houthis.
Residents said southern fighters ambushed a convoy of Houthis and allied forces loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh in a tribal area about 100 km (60 miles) north of the militia’s base in Aden, killing 15 of the northerners.
Inside the port city, Houthi forces and local militiamen battled with rocket-propelled grenades and machineguns. Five Houthis and two local fighters died, residents said.
Locals said Houthi forces were shelling civilian areas and trying to push into the Tawahi district, one of the only areas where they have no presence and home to a presidential palace and the city’s military port.
While the Houthis deny getting help from Shi’ite Iran and say their armed campaign is designed to stamp out corruption and Sunni al Qaeda militants, Saudi Arabia and its allies describe them as an Iranian-backed threat to regional security.
According to the UN, 600 people have died in the fighting, 2,200 injured—and over 100,000 displaced. More than 500 Houthi have been killed in 1,200 Saudi-led airstrikes on the region since March 26.DONATE
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