The representatives of Yemen's warring parties have met on a ship in the Red Sea to discuss the stalled truce agreement for the contested port city of Hodeidah. Retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert chaired the meeting on board a United Nations' vessel off the Yemeni coast on Sunday after the Houthi rebels refused to hold talks in government-held areas, an official told the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity. A Saudi-UAE coalition of forces has been fighting Houthi rebels for control of the country since 2014. As the negotiations took place, reports emerged that the deputy chief of staff of the Saudi-backed Yemeni government died from wounds sustained last month in a drone attack by Houthis on the country's largest airbase, Al Anad, while a military parade was under way. That attack came after a truce was agreed to in December in Sweden that included a ceasefire in rebel-held Hodeidah, a pullback of forces from the port city, and the opening of humanitarian corridors.
Stockholm, Sweden - The Yemeni government officials and Houthi rebels are due to meet in Sweden this week for UN-sponsored talks aimed at ending the war that has been going on for more than three years. The talks are due to take place this week but the UN has refused to reveal the exact dates, times and venue although they are expected to take place on December 5 close to Stockholm. While there have been several international initiatives aimed at bringing the brutal war to a close, the latest round of discussions could yield major breakthroughs. A source familiar with the talks told Al Jazeera that the UN is seeking to introduce a set of confidence-building measures, including a ceasefire in Hodeidah and an end to the Saudi and United Arab Emirates (UAE) air strikes across the country. The source added that the Houthis will cease all rocket and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
A senior leader from Yemen's Houthi rebels says his group will halt all rocket and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is ready to institute a ceasefire - if the Saudi-UAE alliance battling his movement is prepared to do the same. "We are willing to freeze and stop military operations on all fronts to reach a just and honourable peace if they really want peace for the Yemeni people," Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, head of the group's Supreme Revolutionary Committee, said in a statement on Twitter. Al-Houthi called on the group's forces to refrain from carrying out attacks and said that, in a gesture of goodwill, the movement would halt all missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, the UAE and their Yemeni allies. "We announce our initiative and call on the official Yemeni [Houthi] authorities to stop firing missiles and unmanned aircraft at the US-Saudi aggression countries and their allies in Yemen to drop any justification for their continued aggression or siege," he added. International pressure has mounted on Yemen's warring parties to end the war, which has killed more than 56,000 people, according to a recent estimate, and pushed the country to the brink of famine.
A military coalition battling Houthi rebels secured secret deals with al-Qaeda in Yemen and recruited hundreds of the group's fighters, a news report said on Monday. For more than two years, a Saudi-led alliance - backed by US logistical and weapons support - claimed it crushed al-Qaeda's ability to carry out attacks from Yemen. However, an investigation by The Associated Press found the coalition has been paying some al-Qaeda commanders to leave key cities and towns while letting others retreat with weapons, equipment, and wads of looted cash. Hundreds of al-Qaeda members were recruited to join the coalition as soldiers, the report said. Key figures in the deal-making said the United States was aware of the arrangements and held off on drone attacks against the armed group, which was created by Osama bin Laden in 1988.
A US drone strike killed two suspected members of al-Qaeda in southern Yemen, said a security official and residents. Saturday's raid in Ahwar, in the southern province of Abyan, killed two suspected fighters on a motorbike, the security official said. It came after two days of intensive air strikes by US warplanes on fighters in the war-torn country. Tribal sources and residents said another drone fired at a crowd of suspected al-Qaeda militants in al-Saeed, in the adjacent province of Shabwa, but there were no reports on casualties in that incident. On Friday, the Pentagon said it carried out "somewhere over 30" strikes against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in two days, conducted in partnership with the Yemeni government.
SANAA, Yemen – U.S. forces launched a raid in central Yemen on Sunday, security and tribal officials said, landing troops off of aircraft and killing three alleged senior Al Qaeda leaders in a battle that was the third such U.S. ground engagement against the extremist group in Yemen. The surprise dawn attack in Bayda province killed Abdul-Raouf al-Dhahab, Sultan al-Dhahab, and Seif al-Nims, they said. The al-Dhahab family is considered an ally of Al Qaeda, which security forces say is concentrated in Bayda province. A third family member, Tarek al-Dhahab, was killed in a previous U.S. drone strike years ago. It was not immediately clear whether the family members were actual members of Al Qaeda.
SANAA, Yemen – Yemeni security and tribal officials say suspected U.S. drone strikes have killed three alleged al-Qaida operatives in the country's southwestern Bayda province. They say the two Saturday strikes killed Abu Anis al-Abi, an area field commander, and two others. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release the information. U.S. drone strikes against suspected al-Qaida targets have been commonplace in the years since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington as a retaliatory measure. Saturday's strikes were the first to be reported since Donald Trump assumed office as Barack Obama's successor.
Yemeni government troops newly-trained by a Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen's Shiite rebels routed al-Qaida militants on Friday from a city in the country's south, military officials said. Houta, the capital of Lahj province, is now firmly under government control, the officials said. The coalition-trained troops, which are loyal to Yemen's internationally recognized government, were based in the southern Al-Anad base from where they launched the fight to retake the provincial capital, they added. The officials said the militants fled on Friday from Houta to nearby towns and farmland. The assault came at a time the coalition helicopters and U.S. drones have waged series of airstrikes targeting al-Qaida hideouts and strongholds across Yemen's southern region.
Drone attacks killed eight men suspected of belonging to al Qaeda in southern Yemen on Saturday night, local residents said, as a U.S. campaign against the militant group goes on amid a wider civil war in the country. Two missiles hit the fighters who had gathered in courtyards in the villages of al-Hudhn and Naqeel al-Hayala, residents from the southern coastal province of Abyan told Reuters by phone. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has taken advantage of a war pitting the Iran-allied Houthis against forces loyal to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to grab territory and operate more openly. The group has carried out attacks against the Yemeni state for years, plotted to blow up U.S.-bound airliners and claimed responsibility for the January 2015 attack in Paris on a French magazine that killed 12 people. The United States has kept up a drone campaign against the militants, although it evacuated the last of its military and intelligence personnel from Yemen in March last year.