Middle East

Saudi says Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan joining Yemen operation

In this photo taken Tuesday, March 24, 2015, militiamen loyal to Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi take positions at the al-Anad air base in the southern province of Lahej, 60 kilometers (35 miles) of Aden. (AP Photo/Wael Qubady)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia said Thursday that five Muslim countries including Egypt and Pakistan want to participate in the Gulf-led military coalition against Shiite Houthi rebels who have seized large swathes of Yemen.

Together with Jordan, Morocco and Sudan, they have "expressed desire to participate in the operation" against the rebels, which the kingdom dubbed "Firmness Storm", Saudi SPA state news agency said.

Saudi Arabia and four other Gulf states, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, announced earlier a decision to "answer the call of President Hadi to protect Yemen and his people from the aggression of the (Shiite) Houthi militia."

The kingdom's ambassador to the United States announced from Washington that a coalition of 10 countries, including the five Gulf monarchies, had been set up to protect the Yemeni government.

Adel al-Jubeir did not name other members of the coalition.

The United States said it would provide "logistical and intelligence support" to the operation.

Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel said the UAE sent 30 jet fighters to Saudi Arabia to take part in the air strikes, while Jordan will be participating with six aircraft.

The channel also said that Egypt and Pakistan would dispatch jet fighters and warships to take part in the campaign.

Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi had urged Arab countries to intervene militarily as anti-government forces closed in on the southern city of Aden, where he had taken refuge.

Yemen has been gripped by growing turmoil since the Shiite Houthi rebels overran the capital Sanaa in September.

 

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