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Yemen: Houthis declare state of emergency in northern stronghold - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Militants loyal to Yemen's exiled government ride atop a tank they seized from Houthi militiamen in the country's central city of Taiz on August 17, 2015. (REUTERS/Stringer)

Militants loyal to Yemen’s exiled government ride atop a tank they seized from Houthi militiamen in the country’s central city of Taiz on August 17, 2015. (REUTERS/Stringer)

Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—Yemeni Houthi leader Abdul Malik Al-Houhi issued directives on Sunday calling on senior commanders to implement a state of emergency in different parts of Yemen, including the group’s northern stronghold of Saada Province, activists and residents told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, anti-Houthi activists in Sana’a said the insurgent group has declared a state of emergency in the provinces of Saada and Hajjah on the border with Saudi Arabia.

Military movements by the Iran-backed group were reported on Monday by residents in areas near the border with Saudi Arabia which has launched an aerial campaign against the Houthis in Yemen since late March.

Meanwhile, forces loyal to President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi on Monday stepped up attacks on Houthis’ positions in Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city, killing and injuring dozens.

At least 80 Houthis were killed in violent clashes with government loyalists, also known as the Popular Resistance forces, in the western city on Sunday and Monday, local activists said.

This comes as the Saudi-backed forces are reportedly preparing to attack Sana’a where Houthis have been in control since September.

Hundreds of tribal fighters, who have received military training in an unidentified Gulf state, are set to join a pro-government military force which is less than 124 miles (200 kilometers) away from Sana’a, anti-rebel sources said.

Separately, Yemen’s exiled Vice President and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah met at his residence in Riyadh with members of the General People’s Congress (GPC) party, Yemen’s ruling party, on Monday.

The delegation included Abdul Karim Al-Iryani and Ahmed Obaid bin Dagher, among others. The two sides discussed the military developments in Yemen and Bahah praised the “courageous” stances of the GPC’s senior members, Yemen’s Mareb Press reported.

The GPC is preparing to hold a conference to introduce a package of measures and discuss the possibility of removing Ali Abdullah Saleh from his post as party leader, Asharq Al-Awsat has learned.