US evacuates ‘special forces’ in Yemen as rebels seize third largest city



Shiite rebels have seized Yemen’s third largest city, Taiz, officials said after the US announced the evacuation of remaining special forces that were involved in a drone campaign against Al-Qaeda. The Yemeni president is appealing to the UN for help.

Amid escalating violence that threatens to engulf the country, Washington announced it would evacuate its remaining personnel from the country, including about 100 special operations forces that had been waging unmanned drone strikes against Al-Qaeda militants in the region.

Reuters, citing national security sources, said the last major US military contingent had been stationed at the al-Annad air base in southern Yemen, while the unmanned drones fly out of a US military base in bordering Saudi Arabia.


State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said all remaining US staff had been “temporarily relocated” and emphasized Washington would “continue to actively monitor terrorist threats emanating from Yemen and … take action to disrupt continuing, imminent threats to the United States”.

The US pullout comes as Yemen officials said rebels from the Ansar Allah movement had seized the country’s third largest city, Taiz, in the south of Yemen. Residents said the rebels seized the city’s military airport and military base from local authorities late on Saturday.

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