Yemen says 19 Houthis killed in north

January 13, 2010 - 0:0

Yemen said Tuesday its forces killed 19 Houthi fighters and arrested 25 others in a crackdown on their hideouts in north of the country.

During the operation, dubbed “Blow to the Head,” Yemeni forces launched attacks on the northern city of Sa'ada where the fighters claimed their civilian population has been the target of the attacks, Reuters reported.
“The 'Blow to the Head' operation to cleanse the old city of Saada of nests of Houthis that had occupied houses of a number of citizens in the city achieved all of its goals of annihilating these destructive dens of Houthi rebel gangs,” Yemen's Interior Ministry said on its website.
Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi accused both Saudi and Yemeni forces of intentionally targeting Yemeni civilians as a means of pressing for an end to their resistance.
“It is clear, brothers, that the enemies made the targeting civilians a basic strategy, and are trying through that to pressure us because they know our humanity and morals and our pain for our civilians,” al-Houthi said.
“I call on you again to stop targeting civilians and stop your crimes against women and children. If you have a desire or intent to fight us ... then fight us with honor so as to retain a minimum of your humanity,” he added.
He also said civilians had been attacked previously in their homes, markets and masques by “joint aggression” of U.S., Saudi and Yemeni forces.
He also cited a series of attacks in December which left more than 50 women and children.
In August 2009, Yemen launched Operation Scorch Earth against Houthis who have fought the government since 2004. In November, Saudi Arabia joined the offensive.
The government accuses fighters of seeking to restore a religious state in the northern areas that was overthrown in 1962.
The Houthis, however, say they want more autonomy, a halt in alleged Saudi-backed efforts to impose Wahhabism in the region as well as an end to “discriminatory policies” against their people.
(Source: Press TV)
Photo: Yemeni soldiers from the internal ministry special forces patrol the area of the Yemeni foreign ministry at the capital San'a, Yemen Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010. (AP photo)