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Rebels attack Yemen presidential residence

January 20, 2015

Shiite rebels have entered the Yemeni presidential compound after a short clash with the security guards, army sources say. The presidential residence in a different part of town is also under attack.

Huthi-Rebellen stürmen Präsidentenpalast im Jemen
Image: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Shiite Houthi rebels are shelling the residence of president Abed Rabbo Mansour, Yemen's information minister said. The president is believed to be inside the residence.

Information Minister Nadia Sakaff posted on her Twitter account on Tuesday that the President's home in downtown Sanaa has come under "heavy shelling since 3:00 PM by armed forces positioned over rooftops facing his house."

"The president of Yemen is coming under attack from armed militias who wish to overthrow the government," Sakaff added. Hadi is a key ally of the United States in their fight against al Qaeda.

Rebels storm presidential palace

Previously, the guards at the presidential palace gave up the complex to the Houthi rebels after short but intense clashes on Tuesday, witnesses said.

A Yemeni army commander confirmed Shiite Houthi rebels have seized the presidential palace in the capital, Sanaa, a move he described as a "coup."

Col. Saleh al-Jamalani, the commander of the Presidential Protection Force that guards embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, said the rebels were aided by insiders and are looting arm depots on the palace grounds.

UN Security Council set to meet

During the last few days, the capital Sanna has seen the most intensive fighting in recent years, when the rebels and regular army used artillery close to the presidential palace. Nine people were killed and 90 wounded before a ceasefire on Monday evening. It is still unclear who reinitiated the fighting.

Members of the UN Security council are to hold closed consultations on Tuesday concerning the latest developments in Yemen, where the UN special envoy Jamal Benomar is to inform the council about the latest details on the deepening crisis. The meeting was requested by Great Britain.

dj/bw (dpa, AP, AFP, Reuters)

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