Yemeni rebel government minister flees, defects to Saudi Arabia
In this Oct. 14, 2016 file photo, fire and smoke rise after a Saudi-led airstrike hit a site believed to be one of the largest weapons depots on the outskirts of Yemen's capital, Sanaa. Airstrikes by Saudi Arabia and its allies in Yemen are on a pace to kill more civilians in 2018 than last year despite US claims that the coalition is working to prevent such bloodshed, a database tracking violence shows. The war, nearly four years old, may have killed as many as 80,000 people, according to the figures, not counting the untold numbers who have died of hunger in the humanitarian disaster wreaked by the conflict. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed, File)
The Associated Press
Published Saturday, November 10, 2018 3:29PM EST
CAIRO -- The information minister of Yemen's internationally recognized government says his counterpart in the rebel administration has fled the country and defected to neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
Moammer al-Iryani told The Associated Press Saturday that his rebel counterpart, Abdul-Salam Ali Gaber, arrived in Saudi Arabia with his family after they fled Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, which has been under rebel control since 2014.
Gaber is the most senior member of the Houthi administration to defect since civil war broke out in 2014, dealing a blow to the rebels' image as they battle an offensive by a Saudi-led coalition to retake the key Red Sea port city of Hodeida.
The coalition has been fighting the Houthis on the side of the government and its allies since 2015.