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Yemen accuses Iran of arming Houthis as bomb rocks intelligence post

Yemen foreign minister accuses Iran of sending arms to Houthis while violence in the south continues
Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi speaks at a conference (AFP)

Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi on Saturday accused Iran of sending arms to Houthis rebels that have been clashing with government forces in the north of the country. 

"We have evidence that some Iranian parties negatively interfere in Yemen's affairs by sending weapons," al-Qirbi told the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, without clarifying the nature of the evidence.

The top Yemeni diplomat said his country was looking forward to an expected visit by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, which he hoped would help Yemen to reach to the core of Iran's intentions. 

Qirbi voiced hope that Iran would stop interfering in his country's internal affairs and would suspend the alleged support for the Shiite Houthi militants. He also said that Yemen had seized an Iranian ship carrying arms bound to Houthis in Yemen in mid-2013.

This is not the first time Yemen's top diplomat accused Iran of providing Houthis with arms, and he made similar claims last November.

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Tehran has not officially commented on the accusations, but Iran always denies interference in Yemen's affairs.

The Shiite Houthi movement first appeared in 1992 but the conflict officially ignited in 2004 and has intermitantly plaged Yemen ever since. While a peace deal was signed in Qatar in 2010, violence has been growing since 2012. Last month, the UN envoy to the country, Jamal Benomar, revealed that a new peace deal was on the cards, although not 

The central government in Saana is currently under attack on several fronts, facing down the Houthis Shiias in the north, al-Qaeda fighters in the centre and increasingly in the south of the country, as well as growing calls for seperatism in the east and far south. 

Southeastern Yemen was rocked by fresh violence on Saturday when a suicide car bomber attacked a security intelligence post in southeastern Yemen, wounding two military guards, an official said, accusing al-Qaeda of responsibility.

The bombing came hours after gunmen shot dead an army officer as he came out of a grocery shop in Aden, capital of southernYemen, which has seen a spike in attacks on security forces.

In Saturday's attack, the car exploded at the entrance of the post in a residential neighbourhood of Mukalla, the provincial capital of Hadramawt, causing damage to it and other buildings, said a security official.

Guards had opened fire on the car driven by an "al-Qaeda suicide bomber" as it approached the entrance, the official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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