Iran backed Shiite rebels call for Yemen offensive; US troops evacuate

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Yemen’s Shiite rebels issued a call to arms Saturday to battle forces loyal to the country’s embattled president, as US troops were evacuating a southern air base crucial to America’s drone strike program after al-Qaida militants seized a nearby city.

The turmoil comes as Yemen battles al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the target of the drone program, and faces a purported affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group that claimed responsibility for a series of suicide bombings killing at least 137 people Friday.

All these factors could push the Arab world’s most impoverished country, united only in the 1990s, back toward civil war.

“I hate to say this, but I’m hearing the loud and clear beating of the drums of war in Yemen,” Mohammed al-Basha, a spokesman for the Yemeni Embassy in Washington, DC, wrote on Twitter.

Associated Press