By Amal al-Yarisi and Pol O Gradaigh, dpa (TNS)
SANAA, Yemen — Houthi rebels who control much of Yemen said Sunday that they were willing to resume talks with rivals if a Saudi-led coalition backing embattled President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi stopped its bombing campaign.
Houthi politburo member Mohammed al-Bukhaiti said the group remained committed to political dialogue on that condition it be held in Sanaa, the capital, which is controlled by the mainly Shiite rebels.
Before fleeing Yemen late last month for neighboring Saudi Arabia, Hadi called for United Nations-brokered talks to be transferred to the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
Al-Bukhaiti’s statement came as Houthi forces advanced on Yemen’s biggest port in the southern city of Aden, and were accused by Islamist rivals of abducting more than 100 of their supporters.
In Sana’a, the Sunni Islamist Islah Party accused the Houthis of arresting dozens of its leaders and activists.
The party, which has backed the Saudi-led air campaign, said prominent leader Mohammed Qahtan had been among those arrested, while party offices and leaders’ houses were stormed. Youth activists have accused the rebel militia of abducting colleagues who organized demonstrations against the group’s expansion.
Evacuations of foreign nationals continued apace, with India announcing that it had transported almost 700 mostly Indian citizens Sunday out of Yemen.
The Saudis and other Sunni monarchies in the Gulf have been backing Hadi, fearing that regional rival Iran stands to gain from a Houthi advance.
According to the United Nations, more than 500 people have been killed and nearly 1,700 injured in the past two weeks in Yemen.
The Houthis, backed by army units thought to be loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, control much of northern Yemen and are trying to advance on remaining Hadi loyalists in the formerly independent south.
The Yemeni branch of al-Qaida has seized control of Mukalla, capital of Hadhramaut province in southeastern Yemen.
(c)2015 Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany), Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC