US to give 'logistical, intelligence' support in Yemen operation

US to give 'logistical, intelligence' support in Yemen operation
Houthi fighters ride a patrol truck. Houthi forces in Yemen backed by allied army units seized a key air base on Wednesday and appeared poised to capture the southern port of Aden from defenders loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, local residents said.

WASHINGTON - The United States is coordinating closely with Saudi Arabia and regional allies in the military action against Houthi rebels in Yemen, including providing intelligence and logistical support, the White House said Wednesday.

"President Obama has authorised the provision of logistical and intelligence support to GCC-led military operations," National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement, referring to the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Saudi Arabia carried out air strikes against the Huthi rebels on Wednesday, launching an operation by a regional coalition to save the government of embattled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi as the country teeters on the brink of civil war.

Condemning the Houthi rebels, a Shiite militia that launched a power takeover in the Yemeni capital Sanaa in February, Meehan said Washington had also been in close contact with the embattled Hadi.

US forces were not taking direct military action in Yemen, she stressed, but were "establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate US military and intelligence support."

"We strongly urge the Huthis to halt immediately their destabilizing military actions and return to negotiations as part of the political dialogue," added Meehan.

"The international community has spoken clearly through the UN Security Council and in other fora that the violent takeover of Yemen by an armed faction is unacceptable and that a legitimate political transition -- long sought by the Yemeni people -- can be accomplished only through political negotiations and a consensus agreement among all of the parties."

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