BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority has managed to secure the evacuation of up to 800 Palestinian students from Yemen and a number of Palestinian families, a PA official told Ma’an on Tuesday.
He said a “crisis cell” has been working over the last few days to secure their safe departure to several Arab countries from war-torn Yemen.
The body was formed under the directive of President Mahmoud Abbas and has been overseen by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the head of Palestinian intelligence, Majed Faraj, and the Palestinian ambassador to Yemen, Diab al-Luh.
Al-Luh previously said that there are some 800 Palestinians studying in Yemeni universities.
The PA official said that efforts will continue to secure the departure of all Palestinian still inside Yemen.
18 dead in Yemen fighting
The UN said last week that Yemen stands on the brink of “total collapse,” as a Saudi-led coalition wages war against Shiite Houthi rebels in support of ousted Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.
On Tuesday, forces loyal to Hadi thwarted a fresh rebel assault in Yemen’s main southern city of Aden with the backing of Saudi-led naval shelling, as medics and officials reported 18 dead in fighting across the south.
Militia loyal to fugitive Hadi battled rebels attempting to advance on a port in the city’s Mualla district, witnesses said.
Four loyalist militiamen were killed and 12 wounded, a medic at a military hospital told AFP, while an army source said six Houthi rebels were killed.
Mualla is not Aden’s main port but it has been the focus of fierce fighting in recent days. On Monday, medics and officials said 53 people had been killed in fighting in the area over the previous 24 hours.
In Abyan province further east, armed tribesmen loyal to Hadi killed eight rebels in an attack on their convoy, provincial governor El-Khedr al-Saeedi said.
He said that loyalist tribes and militia in Abyan and neighboring Lahj province were sending fighters to Aden to back Hadi’s forces in the city.
During the night, Saudi-led warplanes carried out fresh strikes on the rebel-held Al-Anad air base in Lahj province, pro-Hadi General Muthanna Jawas said.
AFP contributed to this report.