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Rebels withdraw from provincial capital in Yemen

August 16, 2015

Anti-rebel fighters in Yemen have taken over the capital of southern Shabwah province. Officials close to Houthis confirm they have withdrawn after coming under attack.

Jemen Kämpfe bei Taiz
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/A. Alseddik

Security officials close to the Houthis said the withdrawal from the capital was a tactical move. They did not provide any further information

Groups fighting the rebels known as Houthis are consolidating their control over the province after taking the capital, Ataq according to anti-rebel security officials.

The forces backing exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi have been helped by troops and supplies from Yemen's wealthy Gulf neighbors.

Witnesses in Ataq said they heard explosions early Saturday as anti-Houthi forces began their attack to take over the town. Witnesses said that government buildings were looted after the Houthi withdrawal.

Cheering crowds welcomed the anti-Houthi forces in Ataq, firing weapons into the air, according to a local resident.

On Saturday at least 200 Saudi-trained Yemeni troops in full military gear joined the anti-rebel forces in Ataq. They entered Yemen by land through the al-Wadia border crossing, according to security officials.

Clashes continued in Taiz, Yemen's third-largest city, where anti-Houthi security officials said they took over a house belonging to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh as well as other government buildings.

av/bw (AFP, AP, DPA)

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