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Irish citizen evacuated from Yemen with the help of China

225 people from ten different countries were evacuated.

Updated 1.45pm

Mideast Yemen Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, hold up their weapons to protest against Saudi-led airstrikes, during a rally in Sanaa. Source: AP/Press Association Images

AN IRISH CITIZEN has been evacuated from Yemen with the help of China as the Saudi-led fight against rebel forces continues.

They were among 225 people from ten different countries evacuated from the war-ravaged region by China in what has been described as an unprecedented event.

The Chinese missile frigate Linyi brought them to Djibouti after two weeks of fighting.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed an Irish citizen had been evacuated from the country.

The evacuees included 176 people from Pakistan, said foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, with the remainder from Ethiopia, Singapore, Italy, Germany, Poland, Ireland, Britain, Canada and Yemen.

Mideast Yemen Source: AP/Press Association Images

She said it was “a humanitarian relief action” taken at the request of “relevant countries”.

It is also the first time the Chinese government has taken special action to help with the evacuation of foreign citizens in dangerous areas.

“It fully demonstrates the spirit of internationalism and humanitarianism of the Chinese side.”

The official Xinhua news agency said this week that China rescued six foreign nationals from Yemen along with hundreds of its citizens who were being brought out, but Hua’s remarks indicate that the latest operation was Beijing’s first dedicated to foreigners.

Mideast Yemen Perils Ahead Analysis People gather near the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi airstrikes. Source: AP/Press Association Images

The People’s Liberation Army Navy had previously evacuated more than 500 Chinese from the country.

China has become more involved in humanitarian relief as its global influence has grown.

UN aid chief Valerie Amos said Thursday that 519 people had been killed and nearly 1,700 injured in two weeks of fighting in Yemen, adding she was “extremely concerned” for the safety of trapped civilians.

Mideast Yemen Militiamen loyal to Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi take positions at a street in Aden Source: AP/Press Association Images

The conflict has sent tensions soaring between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the foremost Shiite and Sunni Muslim powers in the Middle East.

Iran has angrily rejected accusations it has armed the Huthi Shiite rebels, who have allied with military units loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to seize large parts of Yemen including the capital Sanaa.

© AFP 2015, additional reporting by Nicky Ryan

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