ALGIERS (AFP) - Algeria evacuated 160 of its citizens from war-torn Yemen on Saturday as a Saudi-led coalition continued a bombing campaign against rebel targets in the Arabian peninsula, national news agency APS reported.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika called for the operation after monitoring the deteriorating security situation in Yemen in recent days, foreign minister Ramtane Lamamra said.
Algeria has refused to provide manpower from its powerful armed forces for the coalition carrying out air strikes against Shiite Huthi rebels.
APS added that 40 Tunisians, 15 Mauritians, eight Libyans, three Moroccans and a Palestinian were also flown out of the capital, Sanaa, to Cairo on a plane provided by Algerian national carrier Air Algerie.
Saudi Arabia aims to defeat the Houthi rebels who seized power in the capital Sanaa in February, as Riyadh feared they would take over the entire country and shift it into the orbit of Shiite Iran, Sunni Saudi's regional rival.
Riyadh has formed the largest-ever coalition of Sunni Arab countries to fight the Houthis, bringing together most of the Gulf monarchies, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan and Egypt.
Aden, Yemen's main southern city and a last foothold of supporters of absent President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, has been shaken by more than a week of fierce clashes between Shiite rebels and loyalist militia.
At least 185 dead and 1,282 wounded from the clashes have been counted in hospitals in Aden since March 26, the city's health department director Al-Kheder Lassouar said Saturday.
China, Djibouti, Egypt and Sudan, along with two aid groups, were scheduled to carry out evacuations from Sunday while requests from others including Canada, Germany and Iraq were being processed, the coalition has said.