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Yemen : Warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition struck military bases in Sanaa, Houthis held four U.S. citizens

By Tajuddin
In WORLD NEWS
May 31st, 2015
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A Houthi militant stands amidst debris from a house of a Houthi leader which was destroyed by a Saudi-led air strike, near Sanaa

A Houthi militant stands amidst debris from a house of a Houthi leader which was destroyed by a Saudi-led air strike, near Sanaa

Sanaa, Yemen ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – Warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition struck military bases aligned with Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the capital Sanaa overnight and early Sunday morning, residents said.

The raid hit an air base near Sanaa airport and a military installation overlooking the presidential palace compound.

The Saudi-led coalition began air strikes in Yemen in March in a campaign to restore Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to power. He fled in March, after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa in September and then thrust into central and south Yemen.

Houthi television reported that the rebels fired 20 rockets at Saudi Arabia’s southwestern border city of Najran on Saturday.

A Saudi Ministry of Interior spokesman said a border guard was killed and seven others were wounded on Saturday in the Najran region due to rocket attacks from inside Yemen.

“At 18:30 on Saturday as a border guard patrol was on duty at Al-Harth sector in Jazan region, it was hit by military shells launched from Yemeni territory,” the spokesman said.

The United Nations has said that more than 1,870 people have been killed and more than 7,000 wounded in the conflict since March 19.

At least 4 Americans reportedly held by Yemen’s rebels

At least four Americans are reportedly being held by rebels in Yemen who toppled the U.S.-backed government, and the State Department said Saturday it is “doing everything we can to get these individuals released.”

The Washington Post, citing unnamed sources, reported that attempts to free the Americans have failed. The four are believed to be imprisoned in the Yemen capital of Sanaa, which Saudi Arabia has repeatedly bombed in a campaign to oust the Houthi rebels from power, the newspaper reported.

“We have seen reports that several U.S. citizens have recently been detained in Yemen,” the State Department said in a statement. “We are doing everything we can to get these individuals released.

“Due to privacy considerations, we do not have any further personal details or information to share,” the agency said. “The protection of U.S. citizens abroad is a top priority.” The State Department did not provide an exact number of U.S. prisoners detained.

The Houthis had cleared one of the prisoners for release, but the Post report says members of the rebellion reversed the decision.

Three of the four prisoners held private sector jobs and fourth holds dual American-Yemeni citizenship. None is a U.S. government employee, according to the Post.

U.S. officials and relatives requested that the Post withhold details about the four citing safety concerns.

Another American, Sharif Mobley, is also being held in Houthi custody. He’s been held for more than five years on terrorism-related charges brought by the previous government.

The Post report said those most recently detained are among dozens of Americans who were unable to leave Yemen or who chose to remain in the country after the U.S. closed its embassy.

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