Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen target Shiite strongholds | News | DW | 27.03.2015
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Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen target Shiite strongholds

Saudi-led airstrikes have hit Yemen's capital and the Shiite stronghold city of Saada. Other airstrikes has targeted army camps run by commanders loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Airstrikes and explosions hit Yemen's capital, Sana, for a second day on Friday as Saudi-led air raids targeted the Houthi militia, the Associated Press reported. At least 39 people have been killed by the strikes on Thursday and Friday.

According to the military officials in Yemen, heavy airstrikes also targeted the northern city of Saada, a stronghold of the Shiite rebels.

The officials also say that other airstrikes targeted army camps run by commanders loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Military units loyal to Saleh are fighting alongside Shiite Houthi rebels.

In the south of Yemen, outside Aden, Houthis fought gun battles with militiamen loyal to current President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who has since fled to Saudi Arabia.

According to the official Saudi Arabian press agency, international and domestic flights to and from five airports in the south of the country resumed at dawn on Friday. Saudi Arabia had suspended international and domestic flights at seven airports in the south on Thursday after Riyadh and its allied Gulf governments launched air strikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Pakistan's role in the crisis

The Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Asif said on Friday he has made no decision whether to give military support to the Saudi-led coalition. He also, however, promised to defend the Saudis against any threat.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's office said on Thursday any threat to Saudi Arabia would "evoke a strong response" from Islamabad.

Sharif has long enjoyed close relations with the Saudi royal family. After his second term as prime minister was ended by a military coup in 1999, he was sent into exile in Saudi Arabia.

The military action is growing into a regional conflict and also into a new front in the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Iran demanded an immediate stop to the Saudi-led military operations in Yemen on Thursday and said it would make all necessary efforts to control the crisis there.

The Houthis moved out of their northern centers in the recent weeks and have taken over much of the country.

ra/sms (Reuters, AP)

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