Advertisement
VICE News

Yemen's Civil Conflict Deepens Further as Fighting Breaks Out in Aden

Forces loyal to Houti rebels targeted the presidential palace in Aden, in southern Yemen, where President Hadi took refuge after fleeing the capital of Sanaa following a coup. Also earlier today, fighting by Aden's airport killed at least five people.

by Alice Speri
Mar 19 2015, 4:15pm

Photo via Reuters

Forces believed to be loyal to Houthi rebels have targeted the presidential palace in the coastal city of Aden, in southern Yemen, following a fierce battle between militants and forces loyal to embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi that left 13 dead at the city's airport.

The palace came under attack from an unidentified warplane today as heavy fighting broke out in other parts of the city. Aden's governor Abdulaziz bin Habtoor on local television today blamed the Houthi rebels, who are allied with former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, for the airstrike on the president's compound. He said a bomb had fallen "harmlessly into the sea," Reuters reported, while senior government officials told the Associated Press that Hadi was not in the palace at the time of the attack and has been moved to safety.

"Aden is peaceful and things are back to normal after the rebellion was ended," Habtoor said on local television, though it is still unclear if the siege on the city has ended.

Shia Houthi rebels from Yemen's north moved into Sanaa in September, and since they have firmed up control in the capital and across much of central and western Yemen. Hadi was held in Sanaa, under house arrest, until he was able to flee to Aden in February.

Today's attacks signal a significant escalation of the country's civil conflict in the South, where Hadi has been trying to consolidate his power.

Earlier today, rebel forces opposed to Hadi stormed Aden's airport and a nearby military base and battled against militias loyal to him. At least 13 people were reportedly killed in the fighting, which also brought the airport to a standstill.

These videos show the scene outside the airport:

More clashes reportedly happened in other location across the city, including inside the city's stadium.

Related: As Yemen crumbled, a disappeared US detainee called home in fear for his life. 

Follow Alice Speri on Twitter: @alicesperi