Ye­men rad­i­cal party mem­bers held, ratch­et­ing up ten­sions


ADEN: Se­cu­rity forces in the south­ern Ye­meni city of Aden ar­rested 10 mem­bers of a rad­i­cal part­ner in the in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized gov­ern­ment, the Is­lah party said on Wednesday.

Aden is dom­i­nated by lo­cal forces backed by the UAE, a key mem­ber of the Saudi-led coali­tion that in­ter­vened in Ye­men’s civil war in 2015 to re­store Pres­i­dent Abed Rabbo Man­sour Hadi to power but is hos­tile to­ward hard-lin­ers.

The ar­rests could raise ten­sion within the coali­tion fight­ing the Iran-aligned Houthi move­ment and forces loyal to de­posed Pres­i­dent Ali Ab­dul­lah Saleh who seized much of north­ern Ye­men, in­clud­ing the cap­i­tal Sanaa.

Is­lah said se­cu­rity forces raided the home of its No. 2 man in Aden, Mo­hammed Ab­delMalek, and ar­rested him, along with a mem­ber of the party’s lo­cal Shoura Coun­cil as well as a lo­cal mili­tia com­man­der.

Se­cu­rity forces also closed down the party’s of­fice in Al-Qaloua dis­trict of Aden, Is­lah said in a state­ment.

A se­cu­rity source in Aden con­firmed four peo­ple were ar­rested and said the move was re­lated to the as­sas­si­na­tion of a Salafi imam in Aden on Tues­day by a bomb planted in his car.

While both in the rad­i­cal camp, Salafis and Is­lah are at odds as some of the for­mer back a se­ces­sion of south Ye­men while the lat­ter wants the Ara­bian Penin­sula state to re­main in­tact.

It was un­clear if the ar­rested Is­lah mem­bers had been for­mally charged.

“(Is­lah) directs a call to pub­lic opin­ion, the gov­ern­ment and the coali­tion de­mand­ing they shoul­der their re­spon­si­bil­ity to swiftly re­lease brother Ab­del-Malek and his col­leagues and to stop these ar­bi­trary mea­sures,” Is­lah’s state­ment said.

With thou­sands of fight­ers de­ployed on bat­tle­fronts against the Houthis, Is­lah has been an im­por­tant ally of Hadi and the Saudi-led coali­tion try­ing to re­in­state his gov­ern­ment.

But Is­lah, seen as linked with the Mus­lim Brother­hood, has come un­der pres­sure since a rift erupted be­tween Qatar and the Anti-Ter­ror Quar­tet — com­pris­ing the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Ara­bia — in June over al­le­ga­tions Qatar backs rad­i­cal mil­i­tants. Qatar de­nies this.

Since the coali­tion in­ter­vened in Ye­men, Is­lah has tried to dis­tance it­self from the Brother­hood in an ef­fort to ease Gulf rulers’ anx­i­ety about its rad­i­cal ide­ol­ogy.

The Brother­hood de­nies ac­cu­sa­tions from con­ser­va­tive Arab gov­ern­ments of in­volve­ment in ter­ror­ism, say­ing it seeks change only by peace­ful means.

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