Violence escalates in Yemen between anti-Saudi forces

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.

Reports have it that Houthis have regained control over much of the Yemeni capital city on Sunday, driving the Saleh militias back and raiding several military compounds, one of which was reportedly positioned close to the Saudi embassy.

 

Armed forces loyal to Houthis, have successfully captured the Republican Guard general command building in the capital of Sana’a, after driving troops supporting former president Ali Abdullah Saleh from the area on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, Houthis (Ansarullah) forces raided and shut down the television network Yemen Today, which was known for its support of Saleh and his General People’s Congress (GPC) party.

Pictures show Ansarullah troops in the studio of the television broadcaster, as well as flags of the GPC and a poster of Saleh’s eldest son, Ahmed Saleh, who used to be Yemen’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates before the outbreak of the war in March 2015. Broadcasting was reportedly still taking place right up to the moment when Ansarullah forces entered the compound.

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