Yemen’s embattled president requests an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, as US forces evacuate from a key airbase.
Some 100 US troops, including specials forces commandos, have begun pulling out of Yemen amid worsening security concerns, Sky News reports. The troops are the last of the US forces deployed to Yemen to conduct operations against al Qaeda and allied groups. They evacuated al Annad airbase near the southern city of al Houta, which was seized by al Qaeda militants on Friday.
“Due to the deteriorating security situation in Yemen, the US government has temporarily relocated its remaining personnel out of Yemen,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said in a statement. The US has been waging a drone war against al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen, which Washington considers to be the terror group’s most dangerous offshoot. The country has become increasingly unstable amid a power struggle between the Iranian-backed Shia rebels, known as Houthis, in the north and UN-recognised President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Mr Hadi fled to the southern city of Aden in February after escaping house arrest in the capital Sanaa. Late on Saturday, Mr Hadi called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council meeting, which will convene later today. In his letter to the Council, Mr Hadi denounced “the criminal acts of the Huthi militias and their allies,” saying they “not only threaten peace in Yemen but the regional and international peace and security”.
“I urge for your urgent intervention in all available means to stop this aggression that is aimed at undermining the legitimate authority, the fragmentation of Yemen and its peace and stability,” he wrote. On Friday, suicide bombers killed at least 142 people in attacks on two Sanaa mosques frequented by Houthis. A previously unknown Sanaa branch of Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombings, but the US said it was too early to confirm whether IS was involved. That same day, al Qaeda militants killed 20 Yemeni soldiers during a brief occupation of al Houta.