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Rebels blow up politician's home, casting shadow over Geneva talks

By Reuters | June 17th 2015

Houthi fighters in central Yemen blew up the home of a senior politician yesterday while he was in Switzerland as a member of the exiled government’s delegation to peace talks, residents said.

The destruction of member of parliament Abdel-Aziz Jubari’s house in Dhamar city coincided with more air strikes by Saudi-led forces on military targets throughout Yemen in support of the government.

In Geneva, the UN-sponsored talks between the warring factions went into a second day. A delegate said on Tuesday the parties had agreed on the need for a ceasefire but others said a deal was still far off.

Dhamar residents said the Houthis, who had taken over Jubari’s house in April, dynamited the building early in the morning. Yemeni websites published picture of its collapsed ceiling on top of a pile of rubble.

Jubari, who is deputy head of the delegation sent to Geneva by ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, said he was shocked when he heard the news.

“This is regrettable that people’s manners and behaviours can reach this point,” Jubari told Reuters in Geneva.

“Of course my house is not the only house..a lot of people’s homes and properties have been targeted in an unbelievable way.”

Foreign Minister Reyad Yassin Abdulla, the head of the government delegation said: “It is in this spirit of revenge that they are dealing with all the Yemeni people and we cannot remain silent on this.”

Houthi officials were not immediately available to comment.

The Houthis seized the Yemeni capital Sanaa in September and pressed into the country’s centre and south, forcing Hadi and his government into exile in Riyadh.

They say they are campaigning against corruption and ending what they say is years of political marginalisation.

A coalition of Arab states headed by Saudi Arabia has been bombing the Iran-allied Houthis - who hail from the Zaydi sect of Shi’ite Islam - and their allies in Yemen’s army since March 26.

Their aim is to restore Hadi to power and head off what they see as Shi’ite Iran’s expansion in the region. The Houthis deny receiving military backing from Iran.

The latest air raids by the Saudi-led alliance focused on army bases in Sanaa and Houthi targets in Yemen’s central desert and the mountainous province of Mahweet.

More than 2,600 civilians and combatants have been killed.

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