Pro-government forces in Yemen said they have taken control of Al-Anad military base in the country's south. The base had been taken by the rebels in the spring and served as a key base of their operations in southern Yemen.
In announcing the "liberation of Al-Anad military base" on Tuesday, the Defense Ministry thanked the Saudi-led coalition that has been targeting the Houthi rebels in an air-campaign since March.
Military officials said pro-government forces had taken several prisoners in the battle and were now marching north toward another rebel-held military base called Labouza.
The rebels, who remain loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and thought to be supported by Iran, issued a statement on the rebel-controlled Saba news agency denying that the base had been taken by pro-government forces from Yemen and other Gulf states fighting for exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
Former US base of drone operations
The Al-Anad base is located 60 kilometers (40 miles) north of Aden, the city pro-government forces recaptured from the rebels last month. Even after losing Aden, the rebels still remain in control of large swathes of Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa.
The victory over the rebels at the Al-Anad base would mark a significant gain for the pro-government forces in Yemen, paving the way for Hadi's possible return to the country from Saudi Arabia.
Al-Anad was once the site of US operations against al Qaeda's Yemeni affiliate.
The war in Yemen has killed nearly 4,000 people, half of them civilians, and left some 80 percent of the country's 21 million people in need of aid and protection, according to the United Nations. Nearly 100,000 Yemenis have fled abroad since late March, the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday.
das/sms (Reuters, AP, AFP)