Dozens dead in Yemen as Iran, Saudi step up war of words

April 28, 2015 | By | Reply More

Apr 28, – Fighting between Shiite rebels and loyalists killed dozens of people across Yemen Tuesday as Iran accused Saudi Arabia of using Cold War-era tactics by air dropping leaflets warning of “Persian expansion”.

hromedia Dozens dead in Yemen as Iran, Saudi step up war of words arab uprising3A Saudi-led coalition carried out air strikes for a seventh straight day since announcing a halt to its aerial campaign, hitting Sanaa airport among other targets, correspondent and witnesses said.

The conflict has exposed deteriorating relations between the Middle East’s foremost powers, Saudi Arabia and Iran, which are increasingly seen as vying for supremacy in the region beset by bloody turmoil.

On Tuesday, at least 70 people were killed in fighting between the Iran-backed rebels and pro-government forces in several parts of the country, sources said.

Stepping up a war of words, a security chief in Shiite Iran hit out at the Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab states for dropping the leaflets.

“Dropping these leaflets, as untrue as they are, has the goal of frightening the Yemeni people,” said Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council.

The leaflets were dropped for two weeks during Operation Decisive Storm — the air campaign which officially ended on April 21.

They said in Arabic: “My brother of Yemen. The real goal of the coalition is to support the people of Yemen against the Persian expansion,” in reference to Iran’s language and ancient name.

But Shamkhani, a close adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, countered by saying Tehran was helping in Yemen by opposing the air strikes and providing aid.

He described the leaflets as “simplistic” and accused the Saudis of backward thinking.

“This is a technique that Western governments used to frighten people in the Cold War era,” he said.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards chief General Mohammad Ali Jafari said on Monday that Saudi Arabia was verging on collapse and accused it of following “in the footsteps of Israel and the Zionists” by bombing Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest state.

– ‘New stage’ of campaign –

On Tuesday, air raids hit the airport in the rebel-held capital Sanaa, according to witnesses.

They also reported strikes on the rebels and their allies in oil-rich Marib province, east of the capital, around third city Taez, and in the Red Sea port of Hodeida.

A spokesman for the armed forces who have sided with the rebels said the anti-government fighters had lost 200 combatants — 112 soldiers, 43 policemen and 45 Huthis — in five weeks of coalition air strikes.

In a statement carried by the rebel-controlled Saba news agency late Monday, Brigadier General Sharaf Luqman accused Riyadh of “moving into a new stage” of its air war, not halting it as promised.

The Huthi rebels and their allies meanwhile advanced in the heart of Yemen’s second city Aden in heavy fighting that killed at least 20 people, medical and security sources said.

Forces loyal to exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi were pushed back in the city’s central district of Khor Maksar as the rebels overran Hadi’s family home and the German and Russian consulates, an official said.

Nine rebels were killed, a source close to them said.

Eleven dead were brought into government-run hospitals, the city’s health chief Al-Khader Lasswar said, without specifying whether they were pro-Hadi militiamen or civilians.

Press journalist for HRO media – Khizer Hayat reports.

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Category: Arab uprising

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