Yemen Rebel Chief Praises Hizbullah, Iran

Yemen's rebel chief on Friday praised Iran and its ally Hizbullah, singling out the Lebanese group's leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah for his "solidarity."

But Abdulmalik al-Huthi, whose fighters are battling Yemen's Saudi-backed government, again denied accusations of receiving smuggled weapons from Iran. 

In a speech broadcast on the rebels' Al Masirah TV, Huthi praised "the glory and dignity of Iran" and thanked Nasrallah for "solidarity with the people of Yemen from his position of greatness."

While Iran acknowledges support for the Huthis' cause, it denies arming the rebels. 

Saudi Arabia has also accused Hizbullah of sending its fighters into Yemen. The party has denied the accusations. 

"The U.S., Saudi Arabia and the UAE know that talk of rockets entering Yemen from Iran through the Hodeida port are completely false," Huthi said via video link from an undisclosed location.

Yemen's government, backed by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and their regional allies, is battling the Huthis for control of the impoverished country.

The conflict is now centered on the Red Sea city of Hodeida, home to the country's most valuable port and controlled by the Huthis. 

The United Nations, which recognizes the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, is pushing for a truce between rival parties to avoid further civilian suffering in a country teetering on the brink of famine. 

Huthi, who does not appear in public, said he had agreed to grant the U.N. "supporting logistical and technical role" in Hodeida, accusing the Saudi-led coalition of rejecting the offer. 

Source: Agence France Presse

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