US accelerates arms supplies to Saudi-led coalition in Yemen

April 8, 2015 | By | Reply More

Apr 08, – The United States says it is speeding up weapons deliveries to the Saudi-led coalition battling Houthi fighters in Yemen. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Americans also “have established a joint coordination planning cell in the Saudi operation center,” as part of the effort to oust the Houthis, Shi’ite militants backed by neighboring Iran.

hromedia US accelerates arms supplies to Saudi-led coalition in Yemen arab uprising3“Saudi Arabia is sending a strong message to the Houthis and their allies that they cannot overrun Yemen by force,” Blinken told reporters in the Saudi capital Riyadh, according to the Reuters news agency.

“As part of that effort, we have expedited weapons deliveries, we have increased our intelligence sharing” and set up the planning cell, he said.

Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren confirmed Tuesday the U.S. is looking to deliver munitions to its allies involved in the Yemen air campaign.

“It’s a combination of pre-existing orders made by our partner nations and some new requirements as they expend munitions,” Warren said.

On Tuesday, Saudi-led coalition jets bombed a military installation in southern Yemen as local tribes battled with forces loyal to the Shi’ite rebels in the area, forcing them out and seizing their makeshift camp and weapons, military officials said.

But militants with al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula reportedly took control of a border crossing in Yemen’s Hadramawt province on Tuesday.

The U.S. was “very closely” watching such reports, Warren said. The U.S. is “always concerned by AQAP’s activities,” he added, but “we have the capability to conduct unilateral CT [counterterrorism] operations” in Yemen.

UNICEF cites civilian toll

The fighting in southern Ibb province came as UNICEF, the United Nations children’s agency, said the conflict has displaced about 100,000 people in Yemen, increasing pressure on hospitals and other services.

Saying such internal displacement endangers children’s health and interrupts their education, UNICEF has called for special attention and protection for children and their families, in line with international humanitarian law.

The agency said at least 74 children have been killed and 44 wounded since March 26, when the air campaign began.

A medical volunteer in Ibb’s Maytam district said the airstrike on a Republican Guards camp wounded at least 25 military men. The rebel television station, al-Masirah, reported three children also were killed in a school near the camp. The volunteer, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of reprisal, could not verify the deaths.

The military unit supports Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former president allied with the Shi’ite rebels in their bid to grab power in Yemen. His successor is the Western-backed president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who on March 25 fled Yemen’s provisional capital, the port city of Aden, for refuge in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi coalition so far has been unable to stop the rebels’ advance.

About 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of the military camp, local tribes battled with rebel fighters who had set up a makeshift camp in the area, driving the rebels away and seizing their weapons, said a local resident said, who also asked not to be identified for security reasons.

Press journalist for HRO media – Khizer hayat reports.

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Category: Arab uprising

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