Thursday, July 22, 2004

Yemen rebel cleric given surrender chance

Yemen rebel cleric given surrender chance: "Yemen rebel cleric given surrender chance

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh reportedly ordered a halt to military operations to root out an anti-U.S. rebel cleric and encourage him to surrender.

The pro-government weekly September 26 said Thursday the presidential gesture is aimed at giving Hussein Badreddine al-Houthy, a former member of parliament, a chance to surrender and spare further bloodletting among his followers and Yemeni troops who have been battling for weeks in Saada near the Yemeni-Saudi border.

It will also give an opportunity to clerics in the province of Saada to mediate a settlement and convince al-Houthy to turn himself in to the authorities, the paper said.

It quoted official sources as saying Saleh's decision to halt operations came in response to pleas from Saada clerics and as part of the government's efforts to avoid further killings and death which resulted from the rebellion led by al-Houthy.

Al-Houthy, who has been hiding for weeks in the rugged mountains in Saada, is accused of fueling anti-U.S. sentiments and encouraging terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in Yemen."

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