Yemen’s Shiite rebels and their allies consolidated their hold in another part of the southern port city of Aden on Wednesday after heavy fighting with militiamen loyal to the exiled government and capturing the area’s presidential palace, officials said.
The rebels, known as Houthis, took Aden’s southwestern Tawahi district, killing the area’s military commander, Maj. Gen. Ali Nasser al-Hassani, in the process and seizing the palace, military officials said.
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U.S. forces once used the palace, which overlooks the city’s port entrance, as an operations center and training facility for anti-terrorism forces after rebels captured the capital last September, they said. Experts and trainers left this spring when clashes began in Aden.
Their hold on Tawahi firm, the Houthis set up checkpoints and roadblocks throughout the district, searching for fighters opposing them. In recent weeks, they have been doing the same in other areas of the city, and in at least one instance witnesses said they pulled people from their homes and shot them in the street.
Meanwhile, security officials say Saudi-led airstrikes continued to pound the rebels, striking targets in Aden as well as the cities of Marib, Saada and Dhamar. Dozens of rebels and their allies were killed there, they said.
There also was fighting Wednesday in Marib province, and aircraft also struck the Anad air base north of Aden, once a site of U.S. intelligence operations.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t allowed to brief journalists. Residents spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.