January 2015 – SANA, Yemen — Houthi rebel militiamen seized control of the palace of Yemen’s president and clashed with guards outside his residence on Tuesday in an escalation of the violent crisis that has gripped the capital for days, raising fears of a coup in one of the Arab world’s most impoverished and insecure states. The president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, viewed by the United States as a crucial counterterrorism ally, was believed to be in the capital, but his exact whereabouts was unknown. He made no public statements as the fighting escalated, though Houthi leaders insisted that he was safe and in his home.
Later on Tuesday, the most senior Houthi leader, Abdel Malik al-Houthi, gave a televised speech indicating that the advances by his fighters were a warning to Mr. Hadi to accelerate political changes they have demanded, and not an attempt to depose him. But if the president does not respond, Mr. Houthi said, “all necessary measures will be open.” The mayhem that has convulsed Yemen, which left at least eight people dead on Monday in Sana, has also left citizens facing a leadership vacuum as the country is seized by crises, including spreading armed conflict and widespread hunger. The turmoil has been increasingly worrisome to American officials because Yemen is the base of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has asserted responsibility for a number of attacks, most notably the deadly assault on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris this month.
While the Houthis oppose Al Qaeda, they have vowed to curb American influence on Yemen’s government, which has cooperated for years with United States drone strikes against Qaeda leaders and their subordinates. The deterioration in Yemen preoccupied diplomats at the United Nations Security Council, which released a statement emphasizing that President Hadi was still the recognized authority. The statement “condemned the recourse to violence” and urged dialogue. The Houthi advance on Tuesday, and its leader’s ultimatum, cemented the group’s status as Yemen’s most powerful opposition movement. And Mr. Hadi, the steward of an internationally backed political transition plan, appeared more sidelined than ever. The Houthis’ rise began in September, when Houthi fighters swept into Sana, seizing control of crucial government installations and vowing to force Mr. Hadi’s government to carry out political and economic reforms. The Houthi movement — which began as an activist group seeking greater rights for Yemen’s Zaydi Shiite minority and fought six wars against the central government — has consolidated its control in the capital and beyond. –NY Times
Palestinian stabs 11 in Tel Aviv: A Palestinian man stabbed 11 people on a Tel Aviv bus during the morning rush hour Wednesday before he was shot by corrections officers and taken into custody, officials said. Israeli Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld posted a message on Twitter saying that authorities believe the incident is a terror attack. Eleven people were stabbed and three remain in critical condition, according to Lee Gat, a spokeswoman at Tel Hashomer hospital, and a statement from the Ichilov hospital. Rosenfeld said the suspect is a 23-year-old man from Tulkarem, located in the West Bank northeast of Tel Aviv. He said the man was being questioned by police and a heightened security presence was in effect in Israel’s second-largest city. The Times of Israel reported that the suspect was shot in the leg as he attempted to flee the scene.
Tel Aviv District Police Chief Bentzi Sau said that members of the Israel Prison Service were in a vehicle behind the bus and noticed it driving erratically. Sau said officers then jumped out of their vehicle and pursued the suspect when they saw him get off the bus. He added that the suspect had crossed into Israel illegally, but did not specify how. The stabbing is the latest in a type of “lone-wolf” attacks that have plagued Israel in recent months. About a dozen people have been killed in Palestinian attacks, including five people killed with guns and meat cleavers in a bloody assault on a Jerusalem synagogue. –Fox News