Blast Near Yemen Presidential Palace

Blast Near Yemen Presidential PalaceBlast Near Yemen Presidential Palace

An explosion outside the presidential palace in Yemen’s Sanaa on Saturday wounded three Houthi militiamen guarding the residence, Al-Arabiya reported.

The explosion followed an announcement on Saturday in which the Houthis formed a “security commission,” including former ministers, a day after its takeover which opponents denounced as a “coup.”

Also on Saturday, members of the militia kidnapped 17 activists who have taken part in demonstrations opposing the group.

The Houthis said the defense and interior ministers, who attended the gathering in which the group issued its decrees, in the government of outgoing President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi were among the 18 members of the security commission.

The security commission “will lead the country’s affairs until the establishment of a presidential council,” said the statement published Saturday by the official Saba news agency, which the Houthis seized in January.

It said the commission would be chaired by General Mahmud al-Subaihi, defense minister in the government of Hadi, who offered to resign on January 22 under the pressure from the Houthis. Separately, the United Nations Security Council said in a statement on Friday it was gravely concerned after Yemen’s Houthi forces dissolved parliament on Friday, establishing an interim council.

“The members of the Security Council declare their readiness to take further steps if UN-led negotiations are not immediately resumed,” Chinese UN Ambassador Liu Jieyi told reporters.

The 15-nation council also called for the immediate release of Yemen’s president, prime minister and cabinet from house arrest.