World

Trump calls on Saudi Arabia to lift Yemen blockade

Trump calls on Saudi Arabia to lift Yemen blockade

"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.

Yemen's minister of information called upon the Houthi armed group to release the journalists and urged global organisations to "leave the status of passive onlookers and take acts to press the militias to stop tormenting all the Yemeni journalists", Muammar Al- Eryani told Saba Net.

US-backed Saudi coalition forces renewed their attacks on Sanaa in order to back up Saleh's supporters.

On Tuesday, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said the killing of Saleh would short term, likely worsen an already dire humanitarian situation in the country.

A video circulating online on Monday showed Saleh's body with a gaping head wound dumped in a pickup truck by rebels — a grisly end recalling that of longtime strongman Saleh's contemporary, Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, in 2011.

Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has urged Yemenis to unite against the country's Shiite Houthi rebels, describing them as "Iranian militias" and a "nightmare".

Saleh, who ruled in Sana'a from 1978-2012, had a strong following in Yemen, including army officers and armed tribal leaders who once served under him.

Following Saleh's death, the Saudi-led coalition was reported to have blitzed Sanaa with an intensified campaign of airstrikes.

Saleh was killed Monday by his former Houthi allies after moving to switch allegiances in the bloody conflict.

Strongman 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 could be lifted.

But with Saleh's forces seemingly in disarray, it was not immediately clear if the Saudi-led coalition would be able to turn the split to its advantage.

The Houthis and Saleh's forces began fighting each other in Sanaa last week.

It also shatters hopes by Yemen's Saudi-backed government that Saleh's recent split with the Iranian-backed rebels, known as Houthis, would have weakened them and given the government and the Saudi coalition backing a chance for a turning point in the stalemated war that has brought humanitarian disaster. The ensuing conflict has claimed more than 8,750 lives.

At least 234 people have been killed and 400 wounded in five days of heavy fighting in the Yemeni capital, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Jamie McGoldrick, of United Nations aid agency OCHA, said civilians in Sanaa are "emerging from their houses after five days being locked down, basically prisoners", to seek safety, medical care, fresh water and other survival needs.


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