Yemen's Houthis Hold 'Important' Meeting With Iran's Zarif in Oman

Country has been locked in a devastating power struggle between the Iran-backed rebel group and the Saudi-backed government since late 2014

Houthi fighters ride on the back of a truck during the release of detainees by the Houthis outside the central prison of Sanaa, Yemen September 30, 2019.

A delegation representing Yemen's Houthi rebels met on Tuesday with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Oman's capital Muscat, where they discussed the Yemeni crisis.

Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdel-Salam, who led the delegation, in a tweet described the meeting with Zarif as "important."

The pro-rebel television station al-Masirah said the meeting tackled the latest developments and the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

Yemen, one of the Arab world's poorest countries, has been locked in a devastating power struggle between the Iran-linked Houthis and the Saudi-backed government since late 2014.

Saudi Arabia has led a coalition against the Houthis since 2015, months after the rebels took over Sana'a from the government.

Saudi Arabia fears that the rebels will give its regional rival, Shi'ite Iran, a strategic foothold in the Arabian Peninsula.

Last month, a source close to the rebel group said there were secret talks between Houthi leaders and senior Saudi officials in Muscat through mediators.

Meanwhile, 12 aid organizations suspended their operations in Yemen's south-western province of Dhale following a series of attacks at the weekend, the United Nations said late on Monday.

Unknown individuals attacked the premises of three international humanitarian organizations in Dhale with rocket-propelled grenades on Saturday and Sunday, leaving one person wounded and damaging property, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The UN's emergency relief coordinator, Mark Lowcock, condemned the attacks and urged a thorough investigation.

"These events represent an alarming escalation in the risks faced by humanitarian workers in Yemen," he said in a statement.

"I also remain gravely concerned by the continuation of media campaigns in parts of Yemen that spread rumours and incitement against aid operations," he added.