Yemeni president arrives in Egypt as Saudi-led airstrike targets Houthis

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Cairo/Sanaa, March 28: Yemeni President Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi arrived in Egypt's resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh on Friday to attend an Arab summit, as Saudi-led Arab forces conducted fresh air strikes in the evening targeting the largest military base in Yemen's capital Sanaa, media reports said. [Fresh Saudi-led airstrikes target Yemen military base]

Hadi arrived in Egypt's resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi was at the airport to receive him, the Egyptian state TV reported. [2 ships leave for Yemen to bring back stranded Indians]

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The Yemeni president fled the southern seaside city of Aden to Riyadh on Thursday evening after the Shia Houthi fighters were closing in on the city to capture him.

Violence and chaos prevailed in Yemen since the Houthis captured the capital Sanna earlier this year, and forced President Hadi to flee the capital to Aden.

Meanwhile, warplanes of Saudi-led Arab forces raided the largest military base on the mountain of Nokum in eastern Sanaa and also several other targets in that area, Xinhua reported citing witnesses.

The Saudi-led forces carried out a third day of airstrikes which are repelled by intensified anti-aircraft gunfire of the Shia Houthi group that controls Sanaa. Huge explosions could be heard across the city while the Houthi artillery lighted up the sky.

According to findings by the Efe news agency, the bombings in Sanaa and its surroundings targeted reserve force camps, and those of the former Republican Guard loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Houthis.

The airstrikes bombed the headquarters of the reservists in Al Sabbaha area, western Sanaa, and two other major buildings located in the north of the country, near the international airport.

The presidential palace, which has been seized by the Houthis, was raided during the coalition's Operation al-Hazm Storm on Thursday.

Another airstrike was carried out south of the capital on an area near the Hadda suburb, where most embassies are located.

In Saada, which has been under the control of the Houthis since 2010, bombardments hit a market in Kitaf al-Boqaa town, on the border with Saudi Arabia.

Eyewitnesses told Efe that the raids have caused civilian casualties, without specifying any exact figures.

During the seven-hour airstrikes overnight Thursday, the coalition forces hit targets in Sanaa, the southern province of Taiz and the Houthi stronghold of Saada province that borders Saudi Arabia in the north.

A Houthi member said the strikes in Saada killed seven people and injured 14 others, which brings the death toll in Yemen to 32 while at leat 64 were injured since the air strikes commenced late Wednesday night. He declined to disclose the casualties in Sanaa where three military camps were targeted Thursday night.

The Bahraini king said in a statement on Friday that military intervention has become the only way to rescue the Yemeni people.

"We decided to take part in the Decisive Storm Operation with the coalition to defend the legitimacy in Yemen after all political ways were over," King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa explained.

But Iran called for cooperation and dialogue among regional countries and various Yemeni factions to bring peace to the south Arabian country.

Iran was fully ready to cooperate with other countries in the Middle East to facilitate dialogue among regional stakeholders and conflicting Yemeni sections to restore peace in the country, said Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif in response to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's allegations of Iranian intervention there, reported Xinhua

"Those who have caused damage to the region with their ambitions and mistakes should adopt responsible policies and use their capacities for establishing peace and convergence in the region," Zarif was quoted as saying by official IRNA news agency.

Declaring Turkey's support on the Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen on Thursday, Erdogan accused Iran of intervening in Yemen and trying to dominate the region.

Zarif, who is currently in Switzerland for talks on Iran's controversial nuclear issue, urged the political parties involved in the Yemeni conflict to return to the negotiation table to settle their differences.

IANS

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