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Houthi Leader Says Saleh Supporters' Behavior 'Unjustifiable', Urges Wisdom

Houthi Leader Says Saleh Supporters' Behavior 'Unjustifiable', Urges Wisdom

Once allies, rebel Houthi fighters and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh have now turned against each other.

The clashes between Saleh's supporters and the Houthis underscore the complex situation in Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, where a proxy war between the Iran-aligned Houthis and the Saudi-backed Hadi has caused one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in recent times.

Three Houthi leaders have so far been killed in the clashes that began on Friday, revealed the source, while noting that there have been more casualties among the militia ranks than among Saleh's forces.

Together they have fought the Saudi-led coalition which intervened in Yemen in 2015 aiming to restore the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the Houthis forced him into exile.

Saleh's supporters managed on Saturday to seize control of several embassies and government buildings from the Houthis.

He says a new page must be opened in relations (with Saudi Arabia) and neighborly ties restored, putting an end to all (the animosity) that has taken place and that amicable relations can resume once there is a cease-fire (with the Saudi-led coalition) and their blockade of Yemeni ports and airports is lifted.

"It's been like a street war", they said, adding that ambulances have been ferrying the wounded to hospitals.

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A ballistic missile fired by Yemen's armed Houthi group at Saudi Arabia was shot down on Thursday near the south-western city of Khamis Mushait, the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya channel reported.

The statement was issued after a meeting between Hadi and his advisers to form a broad national alliance in the face of the militias Houthi.

In a statement on Saturday the Saudi-led coalition praised Saleh for "taking the lead" in the conflict. "The priority has been and still is to confront the forces of aggression". It also called on supporters, including tribal fighters, to "defend themselves, their country, their revolution and their republic".

In a televised speech on December 2, Saleh called on the Saudi-led coalition to pave the way for an end to nearly three years of war by stopping attacks and lifting a siege on the country.

Saudi Arabia has been locked in a fight with the Houthi rebels since it joined the Yemen war in 2015.

The Houthi group leader, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, had earlier appealed to Mr Saleh to avoid any escalation, saying that the crisis would only serve Yemen's enemies.

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