With pro-Saudi forces predicting a quick advance against the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, the Shi’ite Houthis currently in control of the city are conducting raids against political rivals city-wide, apparently an attempt to further solidify control over a city they’ve held all year.
Details on the new raids are scant, but officials claimed that 20 people were detained in similar raids last week, including a UN employee arressted near the presidential palace. Dozens more have been arrested so far in the last two days.
The Houthis are claiming that the targets are suspected of being affiliated with ISIS or al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and indeed ISIS in particular has launched attacks against targets in Sanaa in recent weeks. Still, most see the raids targeting supporters of the pro-Saudi “government-in-exile.”
Last week, the chief of staff for the pro-Saudi forces predicted Sanaa would be captured in a matter of days. Though that side’s fighters don’t appear to be near the city yet, there is the possibility that, if the ongoing fighting in Maarib suddenly turned in favor of the pro-Saudi side they could rush across the flat desert in Jawf and have a straight shot at Sanaa.