Wed, Dec 06, 2017 - Page 6 News List

IRC says 234 killed in Yemen since Friday

REVENGE SOUGHT:The son of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was killed on Monday by Houthis, has called for revenge against the group

AFP, SANA’A

A boy yesterday sells grilled corn near cars damaged during clashes between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana’a.

Photo: Reuters

Clashes in the Yemeni capital have killed at least 234 people and wounded 400 since Friday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (IRC) said yesterday.

“Now we have 400 wounded reported and 234 dead,” Sana’a-based ICRC spokeswoman Soumaya Beltifa said in reference to fighting between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh — who was himself killed on Monday.

Saleh had on Saturday bypassed his Houthi allies of three years, telling the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen he was ready to negotiate if the crippling siege against his nation could be lifted.

However, the move backfired. Saleh was killed as fighting raged between his forces and the Iran-backed Houthis for control of the capital — a new front in the war.

Saleh’s son, Ahmed Ali Salehm, yesterday called for revenge against the Houthis, Saudi-owned al-Ekbariya TV quoted him as saying. It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the report.

“I will lead the battle until the last Houthi is thrown out of Yemen... The blood of my father will be hell ringing in the ears of Iran,” Ahmed Ali Saleh was quoted as saying.

He called for his father’s backers to “take back Yemen from the Iranian Houthi militias.”

The former president’s death deepens the complexity of the multisided war, with much depending on the future allegiances of his loyalists. The Saudi-led coalition had been counting on him to give them an edge in the conflict.

Ali Abdullah Saleh had a wide following in Yemen, including army officers and armed tribal leaders who once served under him, and his allies might still be able to have some impact on the war.

Ahmed Ali Saleh has lived under house arrest in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he once served as ambassador. Political sources say he had been held incommunicado and under guard at a villa in the capital, Abu Dhabi.

His reported first public statement might indicate that his former enemies in the coalition are unleashing him against the Houthis.

Ahmed Ali Saleh used to be the commander of Yemen’s elite Republican Guards and was reportedly being groomed to succeed his father.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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