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Yemen rebels urge full withdrawal of Saudi-led coalition

  • Published at 09:45 pm July 9th, 2019
Yemen-Houthi
Yemen's Houthi movement forces ride in the back of a vehicle during withdrawal from Saleef port in Hodeidah province, Yemen May 11, 2019 Reuters

The coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to back the internationally-recognized government against the Iran-aligned Huthi rebels

Yemeni rebels Tuesday called for the full withdrawal of the Saudi-led military coalition after the UAE, a key part of that coalition, said it had begun reducing its deployment. 

"We call on the aggressors to withdraw from Yemen, as the Republic of Yemen rejects aggression, siege and air embargo," tweeted Mohammed Ali al-Huthi, head of the rebels' Higher Revolutionary Committee and an influential political figure.

"Withdrawing from Yemen is the ideal decision that must be taken at this time," he added. 

The coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to back the internationally-recognized government against the Iran-aligned Huthi rebels, but the UAE announced on Monday that it was redeploying and reducing its troop presence in the country. 

"We do have troop levels that are down for reasons that are strategic in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida and reasons that are tactical" in other parts of the country, a senior UAE official, who requested anonymity, told reporters.

"It is very much to do with moving from what I would call a military-first strategy to a peace-first strategy, and this is I think what we are doing."

The official however reiterated UAE's commitment to the Yemeni government and the Saudi-led coalition, saying Abu Dhabi discussed redeployment with its Saudi partner "extensively."

Yemen's rebels - who have faced persistent coalition bombing since March 2015 that has exacted a heavy civilian death toll - have stepped up missile and drone attacks across the Saudi border in recent weeks.

At least one person has been killed and 56 wounded in Saudi Arabia in three such Huthi attacks since June 12, according to Saudi authorities. 

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused Iran of supplying sophisticated weapons to the Huthis, a charge Tehran denies.