Saturday, April 16, 2005

Yemen Finishes Off Iran-backed Insurgents

Yemen's military said the have routed Iranian-backed insurgents in an offensive near the Saudi border. For the fifth straight day, Yemeni main battle tanks and artillery pounded strongholds of the Believing Youth movement in the Saada province. READ MORE

Yemeni government sources said special forces units raided several hideouts of the Shi'ite insurgency group in the area of Razamat about 240 kilometers north of Sanaa as dozens of fighters surrendered.

Many of the insurgents were said to have fled north toward the border with Saudi Arabia as fighting was reported to have died down over the last day. Yemeni sources said more than 200 people have been killed in the fighting, including the No. 2 member of insurgency movement, Middle East Newsline reported.

On Tuesday, Yemeni sources reported that authorities killed Abdullah Izza Al Razami, the No. 2 member of the Believing Youth. Al Razami was said to have died in a battle near the Yemeni-Saudi border during what appeared to be an attempt to flee Yemen.

The sources said Believing Youth members were believed to be behind the bombing of military targets in Sanaa over the weekend. Two military vehicles were bombed in Sanaa, in which four people were injured.

The Defense Ministry daily "September 26" reported that authorities were searching for the bombers and had identified several suspects. The newspaper, quoting security sources, did not elaborate.

"The authorities will strike with an iron fist anyone that tries to destabilize the national security and civilian peace," a Yemeni security source said.

The bombings in Sanaa led to the closure of the British and U.S. embassies. The sources said Yemeni troops were reinforced throughout the capital and over the last two days the two Western embassies reopened.