Ye­men rebel chief praises Iran

Gulf Times - - REGION/ARAB WORLD -

Ye­men’s rebel chief yes­ter­day praised Iran and its ally Hezbol­lah, sin­gling out the Le­banese group’s leader Has­san Nas­ral­lah for his “sol­i­dar­ity”.

But Ab­dul­ma­lik al-Huthi, whose fight­ers are bat­tling Ye­men’s Saudi-backed gov­ern­ment, again de­nied ac­cu­sa­tions of re­ceiv­ing smug­gled weapons.

In a speech broad­cast on the rebels’ Al Masirah TV, Huthi praised “the glory and dig­nity of Iran” and thanked Nas­ral­lah for “sol­i­dar­ity with the peo­ple of Ye­men from his po­si­tion of great­ness”.

While Iran ac­knowl­edges sup­port for the Houthis’ cause, it de­nies arm­ing the rebels.

Saudi Ara­bia has also ac­cused Hezbol­lah of send­ing its fight­ers into Ye­men. The party has de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tions.

“The US, Saudi Ara­bia and the UAE know that talk of rock­ets en­ter­ing Ye­men through the Hodei­dah port are com­pletely false,” Huthi said via video link from an undis­closed lo­ca­tion.

Ye­men’s gov­ern­ment, backed by the United Arab Emi­rates, Saudi Ara­bia and their re­gional al­lies, is bat­tling the Houthis for con­trol of the coun­try. The con­flict is now cen­tred on the Red Sea city of Hodei­dah, home to the coun­try’s most valu­able port and con­trolled by the Houthis.

The United Na­tions, which recog­nises the gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Abd-Rabbu Man­sour Hadi, is push­ing for a truce be­tween ri­val par­ties to avoid fur­ther civil­ian suf­fer­ing in a coun­try tee­ter­ing on the brink of famine.

Huthi, who does not ap­pear in pub­lic, said he had agreed to grant the UN “sup­port­ing lo­gis­ti­cal and tech­ni­cal role” in Hodei­dah, ac­cus­ing the Saudi-led coali­tion of re­ject­ing the of­fer.

Houthi sup­port­ers rally to mark the an­niver­sary of launch­ing their motto (Sarkha), in which they call for the “Death of Amer­ica and Is­rael”, in Sanaa, yes­ter­day.

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