Anti-Houthi forces in Yemen seize Saudi border crossing


Anti-Houthi forces in Yemen seize Saudi border crossing

Reuters, 24 Jun 2015

Army forces loyal to Yemen's exiled president seized a border crossing with Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, officials in the area and witnesses said, dealing a rare blow to the country's dominant Houthi group.

The Houthis and their allies in Yemen's army control three other crossings with the kingdom, which has led an anti-Houthi alliance in a three-month bombing campaign against the group to restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power.

Eyewitnesses reported that thousands of Yemenis gathered there to flee the country after the Wadee'ah crossing in eastern Hadramawt province changed hands amid heavy combat.

Fighting between Saudi and Houthi forces has closed all other entry points to impoverished Yemen's oil-rich neighbor, and one border facility has been destroyed in artillery exchanges.

A blockade of Yemen's sea and air ports by the Arab coalition has created a humanitarian crisis in which food, fuel and medicine are scarce. More than 20 million Yemenis - 80 percent of the population - need aid, according to the United Nations.

Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Muslim allies fear the Houthis are a proxy for Shi'ite Iran in the Arabian Peninsula - charges the group and Tehran both deny.

The Houthis say their seizure of the capital, Sanaa, in September and their spread throughout the country, which has run up against fierce resistance by local fighters, is a revolution against Hadi's corrupt government and Sunni militants.