Houthis hit Saudi oil field, separatists partially withdraw from Aden

Saudi Arabia Yemen

Saudi state TV said separatist forces would withdraw from the interior ministry and Aden refinery on Saturday, but coalition statements did not mention these specific locations.

The military source of Yemen's government forces said on condition of anonymity that "the Saudi-led coalition intensified airstrikes against the main strongholds of the Houthis particularly in Saada".

The Security Belt is a force that has been trained by the UAE, who is a key partner in a military coalition that is led by Saudi Arabia that intervened in Yemen over four years ago for propping up the government of Hadi because of an uprising by the Shiite Huthi rebels that were aligned with Iran. Saudi Aramco on its website refers to the field as "the most remote treasure on Earth", home to reserves of 14.3 billion barrels of oil and 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The STC, backed by the UAE, has fought the Houthis for some time, a reflection of the north-south Yemen divide that was in place until the two sides united in 1990.

The STC forces withdrew from a number of seized government institutions including the country's central bank, the supreme judicial building and the cabinet headquarters following mediation efforts led by the Saudi-led Arab coalition, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Yasser Yafai, an Aden-based political observer, told Xinhua that the STC's recent moves came within the framework of mutual understandings and keenness not to disrupt the interests of citizens and in response to coalition's calls.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have repeatedly accused Iran of supplying weapons, including ballistic missiles, to the Houthi rebels, an accusation Tehran has consistently denied.

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The STC has accepted the call for peace talks.

"Some vital government facilities were reopened in coordination with the Arab coalition that formed joint security units to protect those facilities so that they could operate and not hinder the interests of citizens", he added. Saudi Arabia wants to host a summit to end the crisis.

According to a statement by the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Lise Grande, scores of civilians have been killed and wounded since August 8 when fighting broke out in Aden.

"Preliminary reports indicate that as many as 40 people have been killed and 260 injured", the statement said.

That government was driven from the capital Sanaa by the Houthis in late 2014.

Despite nearly five years of military intervention by the coalition, the Houthi rebels remain in control of the capital Sanaa and much of the more populous north.

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