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Yemen Releases 460 Shiite Rebels - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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SANAA, (AFP) — Yemen released 460 northern Shiite rebel prisoners on Thursday following Qatari mediation, the rebels and security officials said.

Of those, 270 were set free in Sanaa and the rest in the northern city of Saada, the centre of the rebellion by Zaidis, also known as Huthis, a security official said.

Earlier in the day, a source close to the rebels said the authorities had begun releasing prisoners and that the move would affect about 1,000 detainees.

A security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the release and added that “President Ali Abdullah Saleh ordered for 400 prisoners to be released in the first stage.”

The rebels said in a statement that they had returned 10 military vehicles to authorities. They said they had so far received 428 freed prisoners.

The rebels have been engaged in sporadic fighting with government forces since 2004.

The prisoner release comes just days after a Qatari delegation arrived in Yemen in a bid to consolidate a fragile peace deal reached in February between the Sanaa government and the rebels.

The truce has largely held, although a car bomb stuck a religious procession in a Shiite rebel bastion in the northern province of Al-Jawf province on November 24, killing 15 people.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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