Qatari leader mediates in Sa’ada fighting [Archives:2007/1049/Front Page]

May 10 2007

By: Mohammed Bin Sallam
SA'ADA, May 9 ) As the bloody clashes between the army and Al-Houthi-led rebellion continue in the restive province of Sa'ada, Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani played the role of a mediator between the Yemeni authorities and rebels aiming to stopping bloodshed, sources in the ministry of interior said last Wednesday.

It is worth-mentioning that Sana'a renewed its readiness to stop the fighting if Al-Houthi supporters surrender and hand their arms to the authorities. This came one day before the Emir's visit.

The Defense Ministry's Website quoted a security source as saying. “The state is reluctant to be engaged in a war with rebels, but this is its responsibility to maintain security and stability, settle the sedition, and end the killings and acts of vandalism, which the extremists exercise against innocent citizens and government troops.”

With regard to the bloody confrontations, local sources in Sa'ada affirmed that the army is advancing in some areas where the Al-Houthi aides are positioned, and the clashes are continuing in other areas. They added that the rebels are fiercely resisting the progress of governmental troops in 12 districts in the governorate, which comprises 15 districts.

Currently, the fiercest clashes are taking place in Razeh mountains and Saqain and Ghamr areas where the number of casualties on both sides increased. Until this past Tuesday, the fighting jets, backed by mortar forces, waged intensive strikes on the rebels' strongholds after the troops withdrew from some areas including Ghamr Al-Qala'a and She'ara city.

In the central highlands of the governorate, the military forces continued firing missiles at the rebels' strongholds in the areas of Qahlalah, Al-Safra, Katfa, Jebal Al-Adhal, Al-Ghail, Al-Qafl, and Barrash. Other government troops are clashing with Al-Houthi gunmen to clear the areas of the rebels, who assault the troops in the evening.

In Dhehian city, Al-Houthi followers' main stronghold, units of the special forces and the central security continued attacking Al-Houthi loyalists after other government troops withdrew to the suburbs. The air strikes against the rebel groups continued in the areas of Bani Muadh, Suq Al-Talh, Majaz, Al Mazrou, and Al Al-Saifi.

Local sources mentioned that the government troops withdrew from Al-Fejar area in Saqain district as a tactic, however, they dominated the area last week. Al-Houthi supporters launched an offensive on a military site in Saqain area, leading to the killing of several people from both sides.

The government warplanes continued striking the rebels' strongholds in Razeh district. The strike targeted the home of Ali Al-Dhahiri, officer of the Faithful Youth Organization in Razeh. Two cars, belonging to Al-Dhahiri, were destroyed, but there have been no reports of casualties.

On Monday, Al-Houthi followers dominated Al-Nadhir area, part of Razeh district, as well as the Highest mountain in the area while the jets continued their daily raids on Al-Jarasha city, the capital of Ghamr district. The artillery bombardments destroyed houses and government institutions in the area while tanks attacked Katfa village.

Other local sources said that the government troops, backed by tribesmen and volunteers, want to restore Ghamr, Razeh, and Qataber centers, which have been dominated by Al-Houthi-led rebels for nearly one month.