Yemen rebels release captured aide after US resumes drone strikes

World Today

A U.S. drone strike targeting al-Qaida in Yemen signals Washington’s determination to keep fighting the militants despite political paralysis brought on by the minority Shiite power grab.(AP Photo/Hani Mohammed, File)

Yemen’s Shiite rebels said Tuesday that they have released a presidential aide whose abduction 10 days ago set in motion a violent escalation that led to the resignation of the country’s president and the government in the face of a widening rebel power grab.

The release of Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak likely signals the Houthi rebels’ readiness for a de-escalation of the crisis that has gripped Yemen. Earlier, President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi had set his aide’s freedom as a top demand in order to reconsider his resignation.

The escalation has plunged impoverished Yemen deeper into turmoil and pushed it closer to fracturing along sectarian and tribal lines. The prospect of a leaderless nation has also raised concerns about Washington’s ability to continue targeting Yemen’s local al-Qaida branch, considered to be the terror network’s most dangerous.

A U.S. drone strike targeted al-Qaida in Yemen on Monday, the first since the change of power. Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren stressed that the counter-terrorism operation will continue, including training Yemeni forces, though “they are curtailed in some cases.”

Report complied with information from The Associated Press