(AA) – Shiite Houthi militants have seized control of the capital city of the southern Yemeni province of Shabwah, security sources said Thursday.
Houthi militants backed by troops loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh managed to take over Ataq following days of deadly clashes with armed tribes across the province, the sources, requesting anonymity, told The Anadolu Agency.
According to the sources, the Houthi militants set up checkpoints on the city’s main roads and occupied government institutions without much resistance.
Fractious Yemen has remained in turmoil since last September, when the Houthis overran capital Sanaa, from which they have sought to extend their influence to other parts of the country.
Since March 25, warplanes from states participating in the Saudi-led campaign have pounded Houthi positions across the crisis-hit country.
Riyadh says the campaign comes in response to appeals by embattled Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi – who is currently in Saudi Arabia – to “save the [Yemeni] people from the Houthi militias.”
The Houthis, for their part, have decried the offensive, describing it as unwarranted “Saudi-American aggression” against Yemen.