According to NBC, “Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen consolidated control over much of the country’s largest province on Thursday, capturing a major airport, an oil terminal and the area’s main military base, and striking an alliance with local tribal leaders to administer the region.”
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Saudi-led coalition airstrikes targeting Shiite rebels in Yemen intensified on Friday, with bombings in the capital, Sanaa, and the country’s second-largest city reaching their most intense levels since the campaign started last month, Yemeni security officials said.
Thick plumes of smoke rose high above Sanaa as weapons stores in the mountains overlooking the city exploded and burned, while local residents continued to flee the violence, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.
In Yemen’s second-largest city, Taiz, the rebels known as Houthis clashed with units loyal to exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, with tanks and heavy machine guns firing throughout the day and airstrikes hitting a base of the Houthi-allied Republican Guard.
Airstrikes also continued in Saada, the Houthis’ northern stronghold, and Aden, the southern port city that the rebels have been trying to take for weeks, in cooperation with forces loyal to former PresidentAli Abdullah Saleh.
Meanwhile, the United Nations urged the international community to provide $274 million in aid to help save lives and protect some 7.5 million people affected by Yemen’s conflict.
In a statement, the U.N. said that along with its partners in Yemen, it needed the funds to purchase medical supplies, safe drinking water, food assistance, emergency shelter and to provide logistical support.
Fighting between the rebels and forces loyal to Hadi intensified in March. The Saudi-led coalition of major Sunni countries in the region launched the airstrikes on March 26 but has so far failed to halt the rebels’ advance or get them to lay down their arms.
The for the Coordination of Humanitarian affairs says that the turmoil has killed hundreds of people and displaced at least 150,000. UNHCR says shelter is emerging as a pressing humanitarian need in the country.