Houthis Seize Yemen Presidential Palace

Houthis Seize Yemen Presidential PalaceHouthis Seize Yemen Presidential Palace

Houthi militants seized the Yemeni presidential palace a day after a ceasefire had been reached following violent clashes in the county’s capital, a Yemeni army commander said.

Colonel Saleh al-Jamalani, the commander of the Presidential Protection Force that guards embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, said the rebels swept into the presidential palace on Tuesday afternoon, According to AP.

He said rebels were aided by insiders and are looting arm depots on the palace grounds. Yemen’s information minister said the Houthi rebels were shelling the president’s house. Hadi was not at the presidential palace during the takeover but at his residence.

On Monday, a cease-fire halted intense clashes near the presidential palace after the rebels seized control of state-run media.

The fighting, centered on the palace and a military area south of it, marked the biggest challenge yet to Hadi by the Houthis, who swept down from their northern strongholds last year and captured the capital in September.

Confrontation in Yemen started Saturday when presidential chief of staff Ahmed Awad Mubarak and two of his guards were kidnapped. Investigators suspect the Houthis, who had opposed Ahmed Mubarak’s nomination for prime minister, to be behind the abduction.

The violence has plunged the Arab country further into chaos and could complicate US efforts to battle al-Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate, which claimed responsibility for the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo this month and which Washington has long viewed as the global network’s most dangerous branch.

The Houthis are the main opposition movement in Yemen, and played a major role in ousting the country’s former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2012. The group occupied a number of cities in 2014 and demanded the resignation of the government.