UPDATE: Heavy Clashes in Aden Airport
UPDATE: Yemen’s exiled foreign minister Reyad Yassin Abdulla told reporters on Monday that special forces troops deployed to Aden were Yemenis organized by the Arab coalition to fight the Huthis. Abdullah added that more of the Yemeni fighters will be deployed to Aden.
News agencies are reporting that Saudi-led Arab coalition ground troops have been deployed to Aden. The Anadolu Agency said Arab soldiers, probably special forces, reached the coast of Al-Buraiqeh by inflatable boats. AP said the black-clad and masked troops landed Sunday in a central area between the city’s al-Mansoura neighborhood and the airport. The witnesses said helicopter gunships hovered above the landing area.
Reuters quoting a spokesman for the Southern Popular Resistance, the anti-Huthi militia force in Aden, reported that 40-50 Arab special forces are deployed and are now engaged in fighting in the area around Aden airport.
Yemen’s Aden al-Ghad newspaper reported that an Arab ground force arrived in Aden on Sunday and started fighting Huthi forces.
“The first push of Arab ground force arrived on Sunday morning in Aden and began to take part in battle,” the newspaper said.
AFP reported that a limited number of Saudi-led ground troops deployed in Aden on Sunday, with another force on its way.
This is the first deployment of ground troops in Yemen since the coalition launched its campaign against the Huthi insurgents in late March.
UPDATE: Turkey’s state-run Anadolu press agency reported today that the Arab coalition special forces deployed to Aden today had sailed off from the Red Sea Port of Djibouti. Anadolu quoted an unnamed western diplomat as saying that the coalition’s ground troops will attempt to create a “safe zone” in Aden to be utilized as a base for Arab troops. The Western diplomat told Anadolu that the plans call for deployment of “several thousands” of Arab troop. (Anadolu, 3 May)
UPDATE: Reuters reports heavy clashes in Aden Airport on Sunday afternoon. Special forces deployed today probably spearheading the fight.
UPDATE: Saudi Arabia denied that a "major ground operation" is under way by the Arab coalition, but coalition spokesman declined to comment on the deployment of special forces for Aden. (Reuters)
File photo: Aden, Yemen's principal port city (yementhroughoureyes)