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Yemen's Houthi rebels make new gains in Aden

Shiite Houthi rebels have pushed forward in the southern port city of Aden. Their advance is now in its 11th day. The International Committee of the Red Cross calls for a 24-hour ceasefire.

Yemeni rebels made new gains fighting their way into the the southern city of Aden on Sunday, as Saudi-led airstrikes failed to halt their advance.

Houthi forces have been battling to make inroads into one of the last remaining strongholds of troops loyal to Saudi-backed President Add-Rabbu Mansour Haddi. For the past 11 days, Saudi airstrikes have been conducted against them in an effort to halt the advance.

The Reuters news agency reported that heavy gun battles and shelling had shaken a downtown district close to the city's port area.

Meanwhile, the news agency AFP reported that the rebels advanced into the central district of Mukalla, in the main Southern city Aden, capturing the provincial government headquarters. They were also said to have bombarded residential areas and damaged buildings.

Tribesmen deploy, force out al Qaeda

Reuters reported that armed Yemeni tribesmen had deployed in the streets of Mukalla on Sunday and pushed al Qaeda fighters out of much of the eastern port town.

Mukalla, like Aden, is also defended by militiamen loyal to President Hadi, who has already fled to neighboring Saudi Arabia.

According to the city's health department director Al-Kheder Lassouar, at least five civilians were killed and 14 wounded.

The Red Cross on Saturday appealed for an immediate truce

for families to get water, food and medical assistance. The International Committee has also called for a 24-hour ceasefire to allow aid into Yemen.

The turmoil in Mukalla is another sign of Yemen's collapsed central authority.

Over the past two weeks, fighting in Yemen has left more than 500

people dead

and some 1,700 wounded, the UN has said.

ra/rc (Reuters, AFP)

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