Saudi raids against Shiite rebels in Yemen
· International concern over the expanding conflict ·
Danger intensifies as the conflict spreads in Yemen. On Thursday night, Saudi air strikesss targeted Shiite Houthi rebels who, with forces loyal to Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, swept southward across the country, reaching the city of Aden.
Saudi Arabia deployed 100 fighter planes and 150,000 soldiers, in addition to naval units. This was according to Al Arabiya television, which added that Saudi aviation took control of Yemen air space at dawn on Friday. At least 25 civilians were killed in air raids on the residential area north of San’a. The army loyal to President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, recently took back Aden's airport. It initially seemed that all military interventions by Riyadh and other Arab countries would be on hold pending the Arab League Summit planned for Saturday and Sunday in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, but instead Riyadh made the decision to take action against Shiite rebels, as confirmed in Washington on Friday by Saudi Ambassador Adel Al Jubeir. The Ambassador noted during a press conference that the operation was “to protect and defend the legitimate government of Yemen”.
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