RELIGION

Yemeni rebels ask ally Iran to stop exploiting country's war

A top leader of Yemen's Shiite rebels has issued a harsh rebuke of ally Iran, calling upon Tehran to back away from the crisis in Yemen.

Youssef al-Fishi, a top military commander of the rebels known as Houthis, is asking Iranian officials to "remain silent" and "stop exploiting" the Yemeni civil war for their own interests.

The remarks, posted on al-Fishi's Facebook page on Thursday, underscore how the formerly firm Houthi-Tehran alliance may be faltering after a year-long Saudi-led air campaign targeting the rebels.

The rebuke comes a day after Saudi Arabia announced it has carried out a prisoners' exchange for the first time with Yemeni tribes.

The Saudi air campaign and ground offensive aim to roll back Houthi gains after the rebels captured the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, in 2014.