Aden presidential palace seized by Yemen rebels

Aden presidential palace seized by Yemen rebels
2 min read
02 April, 2015
Houthi and pro-Saleh forces enter the presidential palace in Aden, despite Saudi-led airstrikes and as fighting continues to rock Yemen's second city.
Locals in Aden are resisting Houthi-Saleh forces

Houthi rebels and their allies have taken control of the presidential palace in the major southern city of Aden on Thursday, with fighting continuing in the city between the rebels and locals.

Al-Maashiq presidential palace, where Yemen's president Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi had based himself in February before fleeing to Saudi Arabia last week, has been hotly contested over the past few days.

Houthi forces and army units loyal to the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, have been able to continue their advance in Aden, despite Saudi-led coalition airstrikes.

"Dozens of Houthi militia and their allies arrived in armoured troop carriers and entered al-Maashiq presidential palace," a senior security official who witnessed their advance said.

The fighting in Aden has been fierce, with at least 44 peopled reported dead, including 18 civilians.

"There are bodies and wounded in the streets and nobody dares to approach," said Khaled al-Shaie, a resident in the central neighbourhood of Crater.

     There are bodies and wounded in the streets and nobody dares to approach.
Khaled al-Shaie

Fighting over the past few days has centred on the Aden districts of Dar Saad and Khormaksar. A member of Aden's security committee told al-Araby al-Jadeed that snipers could be seen firing from rooftops.

"[The snipers] belong to the counter-terrorism forces trained by the United States and used by Saleh," the security committee member said.

Clashes in the border region between Saudi Arabia and Yemen left one Saudi soldier dead on Thursday. He was the first to die since Saudi Arabia began operations against Houthi-Saleh forces a week ago.

The Saudi interior ministry said that border guards at a post in the southwestern Asir region came "under fire from a mountainous interior zone".

The Saudis have assigned 100,000 troops and 100 jets to the conflict in Yemen, but as of yet there is no official word on a ground invasion.

Houthi forces retreat from al-Dhalea

On Wednesday, there had been a setback for the Houthi-Saleh forces, who retreated from the southern city of al-Dhalea. Saudi-led airstrikes helped locals push the rebels out.

"The popular resistance surprised the enemy by carrying out intensive operations in the city of al-Dhalea, as well as some military positions affiliated with Brigade 33," a member of the 'Southern People's Resistance' told al-Araby.

"Houthi militants and members of the brigade were forced to retreat from the city," the source added.

Locals in al-Dhalea said that dozens of Houthi and pro-Saleh forces were killed and injured, while witnesses said that at least seven civilians and resistance fighters died, including the son of al-Dhalea's governor, Muhammed Ali Qassem Taleb.