Shiite rebels 'seize city of Taiz and airport'

Shiite rebels backed by supporters of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have taken over parts of Yemen's third largest city of Taiz and its airport.

The UN Security Council is holding an emergency meeting on Yemen's security situation.

It comes after the US announced it was withdrawing its troops from Yemen due to the worsening security situation amid mounting violence by armed rival groups including Houthi rebels, al-Qaeda and Islamic State militants.

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Yemen Shiite rebel leader vows to escalate attacks

Yemen's Shiite rebel leader has vowed to escalated his attack against the country's president today, after his militia seized the city of Taiz.

Abdel-Malik al-Houthi said he intended to send fighters to the south where President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi has taken refuge, according to Reuters.

In an interview on al-Masirah TV, al-Houthi, who has accused Yemen's President of partnering with militant groups to destabilise the country, said: "The decision (to mobilise) aims to confront the criminal forces, al Qaida, and its partners and sisters, and all those who want to take cover in regions or using political pretexts."

UN mediator: Yemen situation could become lengthy conflict

A United Nations mediator warned of the possibility of the current situation in Yemen escalating into a lengthy and protracted conflict today.

Speaking via video link UN mediator Jamal Benomar told the UN security council it would be an illusion to think Houthi militia could take over the whole country or that President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi could assemble enough troops to liberate Yemen.

He said: "Any side that would want to push the country in either direction would be inviting a protracted conflict in the vein of an Iraq-Libya-Syria combined scenario."


Yemen rebels take charge of major city

Taiz Credit: Google Maps

Shiite rebels backed by supporters of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have taken over Yemen's third largest city of Taiz and its airport.

The Houthi soldiers opposed to Yemen's president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, seized large parts of the city which is located between the country's capital Sanaa and the second city of Aden.

The seizure follows a call from the Houthis rebels for a general uprising against forces loyal to Hadi, who has established a base in Aden after fleeing the capital.

Yemen rebels in call for new offensive

Anti-Houthi protesters demonstrating in support of Yemen's President Credit: Reuters

Yemen's Shiite rebels have issued a call to arms to fight forces loyal to the country's president.

The development came as US troops were evacuating a southern air base crucial to America's drone strike programme after al Qaida militants seized a nearby city.

Yemen is fighting al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and facing a purported affiliate of the Islamic State group that claimed responsibility for the suicide bombings which killed at least 137 people on Friday..

All these factors could push the Arab world's most impoverished country, united only in the 1990s, back toward civil war.

"I hate to say this, but I'm hearing the loud and clear beating of the drums of war in Yemen," said Mohammed al-Basha, a spokesman for the Yemeni embassy in Washington

The United Nations Security Council will meet on Sunday on the situation in Yemen after Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi called for an "urgent intervention" by the 15-member body.

The president escaped from the capital, Sanaa last month after being imprisoned in his own home by the Houthis Shiite rebels and fled to Aden, declaring it the temporary capital.

US evacuates special forces from Yemen

The suicide bombers killed scores in the mosque attacks Credit: Reuters

The United States is evacuating its remaining 100 special operations forces from Yemen, amid a deteriorating security situation in the country, CNN has reported.

CNN said the troops, who had conducted counter-terrorism operations against al Qaeda and its affiliated militant groups, were the last US forces stationed in the country.

The United States closed its embassy in Sanaa last month, after Houthi rebels took over the Yemeni capital.

The move follows Friday's suicide bombs which killed at least 137 worshippers and wounded hundreds more at two mosques in Sanaa. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

126 people killed in suicide bomb attacks in Yemen

A day of bloodshed has seen at least 126 people have been killed in suicide bomb attacks in Yemen. Some 260 people were also injured in the blasts.

The self-styled Islamic State later claimed responsibility - though the White House later cast doubt on that claim.

Four suicide bombers are thought to have taken part, targeting two mosques in the capital, Sanaa.

Warning: ITV News correspondent Emma Murphy's report contains distressing images from the start:


US 'cannot confirm' Islamic State is behind Yemen attacks

Houthi militants stand at the scene of a suicide bombing outside a mosque in Sanaa Credit: Reuters

A White House spokesman said the US cannot confirm Islamic State's claim it is behind the deadly mosque attacks in Yemen.

A source told Reuters that 126 people have been killed and 260 more injured in the bomb attacks on mosques in Sanaa today.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the US "strongly condemns" the bombings and said there was no clear operational link between the people who carried out a bomb attacks and Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria.

IS warns deadly Yemen attacks are 'part of a coming flood'

Crime scene investigators look at the ground after a suicide bomb attack at a mosque in Sanaa Credit: Reuters

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for today's bomb attacks in Yemen that sources say have killed 126 people - and vowed to carry out more assaults on the Shi'ite Muslim Houthi group that has seized control of the government.

"God willing, this operation is only a part of a coming flood," the group said in a statement posted by supporters on Twitter.

One suicide bomber struck inside Badr mosque in southern Sanaa while another targeted worshippers as they fled outside, witnesses said.

A third suicide bomber tried to blow himself up a mosque in the northern Houthi stronghold of Sadaa province but failed, killing only himself, a security source told Reuters.

Yemen: 'Islamic State bomb attack leaves 126 dead'

The scene of a suicide bomb attack at a mosque in Sanaa, Yemen Credit: Reuters

Suicide bomb attacks in Yemen have killed 126 people, a medical source told Reuters.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the blasts on two mosques in the capital Sanaa today.

The mosques are used mainly by supporters of the Shi'ite Muslim Houthi group which has seized control of the government.

A further 260 people were reportedly injured in the attacks.

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