Flight Ban After Islamists Clash in Yemen

Flights suspended for 24 hours after Shi'ite Houthis make gains near capital Sanaa, as Yemen fights two-front war against extremists.

Tova Dvorin,

Yemeni paramilitary police trooper in Sana'a
Yemeni paramilitary police trooper in Sana'a
Reuters

International airlines have suspended flights to the Yemeni capital of Sanaa for a 24-hour period Friday amid a worsening security situation, the UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced.

“Arab and foreign airlines have decided to suspend their flights to Sanaa for 24 hours because of developments in the capital,” the CAA said in a statement issued overnight, reports AFP. The flight ban could be retracted or extended as the tense situation there develops, it added. 

Armed Shi'ite terrorists known as the Houthis have been slowly pushing into Sanaa after multiple clashes with the Yemeni army, security sources told Al Arabiya.

Forty people were killed on Thursday during clashes between the Houthi and Sunni Islamists, as UN envoys attempted to solve the crisis from afar, according to the daily. 

Several days ago, Houthi rebels attacked Yemen's state television headquarters in the northwestern outskirts of the country, prompting Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to hold emergency talks with top cabinet members. 

The flight ban may also be a response to an escalation in fighting in Yemen's southern regions, as well. 

Yemen's government has been struggling to assert its control over parts of the country held by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and sympathetic local tribesmen. Sanaa's efforts have been backed by the U.S., with drone strikes and other operations inflicting a heavy toll on the group.

Both sets of clashes caused further instability in the country, as fighting and protests have been dragging on for weeks.




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