x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Yemen rebels claim control of northern district

Zaydi Shi'ite rebels in north Yemen claim to have taken control of a district bordering Saudi Arabia.

Zaydi Shi'ite rebels in north Yemen claim to have taken control of a district bordering Saudi Arabia, while a UN aid group cancelled a cross-border humanitarian convoy. "Citizens took full control of government buildings" in the administrative district of Munabbih, a rebel statement late on Wednesday said. It said local residents had turned against the authorities because of rights abuses. A government security source issued a statement saying the army had killed 62 rebels, referred to as Houthis after their leaders' clan, in mountainous Saada province where most of the Zaydi Shi'ites, a third of Yemen's 23 million population, live.

There was no official comment on the situation in Munabbih, which borders Saudi Arabia inside Saada province. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) delayed an aid convoy due to set off from Saudi Arabia into Yemen this week. It was not clear if the delay was because of the rebels seizing the Munabbih area. A UNHCR official in Riyadh said the convoy, which was to bring aid to 2,000 people stranded near the border, was still waiting for security clearance from the Saudi and Yemeni sides.

*Reuters