Yemeni President Abdel Rabbo Mansour Hadi described Shiite Houthi rebels who have occupied parts of the country, including the capital, Sanaa, as "puppets of Iran."
The remarks by Hadi, who was forced to flee Yemen amid the rebel onslaught, come as a Gulf diplomatic official quoted by news agencies says that Arab nations allied against the Houthis could continue their airstrikes against the Shiite militia for months.
At an Arab League summit held in Egypt, Hadi left no doubt that he believed the Houthis were being controlled by Tehran: "I say to the puppets of Iran and its toys: ... You've destroyed Yemen."
The Associated Press says that other leaders at the summit, "including the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, obliquely referenced Iran earlier at the summit held in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. They blamed the Persian country for meddling in the affairs of Arab nations, with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi saying, without mentioning Iran by name, that it was 'spreading its ailment in the body.'"
"This (Arab) nation, in its darkest hour, had never been faced a challenge to its existence and a threat to its identity like the one it's facing now," Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi said. "This threatens our national security and (we) cannot ignore its consequences for the Arab identity."
Meanwhile, Reuters and AP separately quote one or more unnamed Gulf diplomats as saying the Saudi-led airstrikes against the Houthis was planned to continue for a month, but could go on as long as six.
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