Meanwhile, What About The Revolt In South Yemen?
Yemen army 'closing in on Shiite rebels'
SANAA — The Yemeni army is tightening the noose around Shiite rebels in the north of the country, according to military sources quoted on the defence ministry's website on Thursday.
"Army and security forces units have taken control of many areas which were in the hands of the rebels and are conducting cleaning up operations" as well as pursuing fleeing fighters, one of the sources told the 26sep.net site.
Other military sources said the 10-day-old campaign has been stepped up in the past 48 hours, chiefly through air raids on rebel positions in Saada and Amran provinces.
"The eagles of the air force continue to land painful blows on the saboteurs, destroying their fortifications," one of the military sources said, without giving figures for losses amongst the rebels or the army.
Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh pledged on Wednesday to crush the Shiite rebellion in the north as the army pressed on with the offensive launched in Saada province 10 days ago.
The campaign, dubbed Operation Scorched Earth, targets Zaidi Shiite rebels, also known as Huthis, in the rugged mountainous region, local officials said.
Fighting began in Saada province on the border with Saudi Arabia and has since spread to Amran province to the south.
The rebels accuse government forces of having killed dozens of civilians.
An offshoot of Shiite Islam, the Zaidis are a minority in mainly Sunni Yemen but form the majority community in the north. President Saleh is himself a Zaidi.
The rebels reject the current government and want to restore the Zaidi imamate overthrown in a 1962 coup. Thousands of people have been killed since the conflict first erupted in 2004.
Posted on 08/21/2009 11:34 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald