More fighting near Sanaa on Friday threatened to destabilize Yemen, which is watched by the US and its Gulf Arab allies because of its proximity to oil shipping lanes. Residents said Shiite Hawthi rebels (pictured) seeking to expand control of northern Yemen had pushed into Sanaa – toward the campus in the capital’s northwestern suburb of Shamlan, which is regarded as a “breeding ground” for Sunni militants. Hawthi mortars reportedly hit the headquarters of state television on Thursday night. Thousands of residents had fled their homes. Violence outside the capital claimed nearly 40 lives on Thursday. Flights suspended The state news agency Saba said airlines had suspended flights to Sanaa’s airport for 24 hours. At that point the situation would be reassessed. Officials said the clashes had prompted President Abed Rabbo Mansuour Hadi to hold emergency talks with top aides. The Hawthis, who belong to the Zaidi Shiite community, have long been in conflict with Yemen’s Sunni-dominated administration. Rebel gains The rebels reached the capital after making a series of territorial gains in Yemen’s north in recent months. Opponents of the Hawthis accuse them of being proxies for mainly Shiite Iran, a claim which the group rejects. The Sanaa-based authorities… Read full this story
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