Washington pressures Yemen's Hadi over operation to retake Sanaa
The US administration has been putting 'significant' pressure on Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi over the plan to liberate the Yemeni capital city of Sanaa, a source in the Yemeni presidency told al-Araby al-Jadeed.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source added that Hadi's visits to Sudan, the UAE, and Morocco aimed to create a united Arab stance to counter the US pressures.
According to the source, the US administration opposes any land operations to liberate Sanaa from the control of Houthi rebels and their ally, ousted Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
He added that the US believes the battle to liberate Sanaa would come at a high cost, and that Houthis had already shown their willingness to implement UN resolution 2216 over several stages, which the Yemeni leadership disagrees with.
Meanwhile, Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz started his visit to Washington, the first since he took over power following the death of his brother, King Abdullah.
The source described the visit as crucial in deciding the fate of the situation in Yemen, since Saudi Arabia is leading the Arab coalition that had been targeting Houthi sites with air strikes since March.
On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia announced that King Salman would visit the US in response to an official invitation from President Obama.
The announcement added that the Saudi King would meet with Obama and a number of US officials to discuss "bilateral relations and ways to promote them", as well as "regional and international issues of common interest".
IS claims Sanaa mosque bombing
On Wednesday, twin bombings claimed by the Islamic State group against a Shia mosque in the Yemeni capital killed at least 32 people, medical sources said in an updated toll Thursday.
A further 92 people were wounded in Wednesday's bombings, the latest in a string of attacks carried out by the Sunni extremist group against Shia targets in Yemen since March.
A suicide bomber blew himself up inside the mosque in the Jarraf district of north Sanaa, and a car bomb was detonated outside minutes later.
The neighbourhood is home to many senior figures in the Houthi movement which has controlled the capital since September last year.
IS extremists consider Shias to be heretics and have carried out similar attacks against their mosques in neighbouring Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.