Houthis Join New Yemen Cabinet

Houthis Join New Yemen CabinetHouthis Join New Yemen Cabinet

A new cabinet has been formed in Yemen, in an effort to defuse mounting political tensions, state media say.

The 24-strong administration, headed by Prime Minister-Designate Khalid Bahah, includes Shia Houthis who seized the capital Sanaa in September.

Houthi leaders had said they would withdraw their fighters from Sanaa once a cabinet was formed, the BBC reported.

Yemen has faced growing instability since the start of anti-government protests in 2011, which resulted in former president Ali Abdullah Saleh standing down in 2012.

Friday’s announcement of a new cabinet ended two weeks of deadlock among Yemen’s political factions.

Under a UN-brokered deal after the Houthis entered Sanaa on 21 September, President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi agreed to form a “technocratic” government and appoint advisers nominated by the Houthis and also members of a separatist movement in the south.

Southern separatists have long complained of being marginalized by the central government.

Meanwhile the Houthi rebels, who belong to the minority Zaidi Shia community, have staged periodic uprisings since 2004 to win greater autonomy for their northern heartlands.

  Qaeda Leader Killed

Friday’s developments came as security forces said they had killed a senior al-Qaeda leader in the south of the country.

Turki al-Assiri, a Saudi national also known as Marwan al-Mekki, was killed on Thursday while trying to resist arrest, officials said.

Al-Assiri was a commander of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a regional affiliate of the fundamentalist group founded by Osama Bin Laden.

Correspondents say his death is a significant blow for the organization, which had vowed to confront the Houthi rebels after they overran Sanaa.

AQAP said it was behind a suicide bomb attack which struck a rally held by Houthi supporters in the capital on 9 October, killing 47 people.