Former President Defiant As Humanitarian Toll Mounts In Yemen War

Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Friday he would not leave the country, dismissing reports in the Gulf Arab media that he was seeking a safe exit as Saudi Arabian war planes bomb troops loyal to him and their Houthi militia allies.

The United Nations, meanwhile, said about 150,000 people had been driven from their homes by three weeks of air strikes and ground fighting and more than 750 people killed.

Many schools, hospitals and mosques had been damaged or destroyed in the conflict, it said.

A Saudi-led coalition began its air campaign on March 25 after the Houthi rebels, who run most of the country, closed in on the southern port city of Aden and forced the Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour to flee to Riyadh.

The Iran-allied Houthis, a Shi’ite Muslim movement from northern Yemen, have formed an alliance of convenience with Saleh, who is widely believed to be plotting behind the scenes to make a comeback on Yemen’s tumultuous political scene.

But military sources have said some army units loyal to Saleh have defected and now support Hadi.

Saudi-owned Arabiya TV, citing a Gulf official, said representatives of Saleh had visited Arab capitals and floated an initiative for him and his family to leave safely.

Saleh scoffed at the report.

Source : Reuters

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