Yemen's Shiíte Houthi rebels have seized the southern city of Taiz and its airport and are pushing to seize more territory across the country, Al Jazeera correspondents reported. Correspondents said the rebels were pushing south towards the city of Aden, where President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has set up a rival administration after the Houthis forced him out of power.
They seized the airport in Taiz, the third-largest city, on Sunday after clashes with forces loyal to Hadi, reported the AFP news agency, citing security sources. Tens of tanks and armoured personnel carriers carrying Houthi fighters had crossed into al-Dhalie and Aden governorates, Al Jazeera correspondents said.
A Yemeni political activist, Ahmed al-Wafi, said the Houthis had taken full control of Taiz military airbase and had deployed fighters to man checkpoints at the city's entry
points and streets.
Al-Masirah TV, a pro-Houthi channel, announced that Houthi leader Abdel-Malik al-Houthi would deliver a speech in the evening.
The airport was seized amid demonstrations against both the Houthis
and supporters of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former president backing the
Houthis.Yemeni anti-aircraft guns on Sunday opened fire at an
unidentified plane flying over Hadi's compound in Aden and appeared to
force it away, witnesses cited by the Reuters news agency said. It was
the third incident of its kind in the past four days, in which
unidentified aircraft have flown over the compound, where Hadi is
based, on one occasion dropping bombs without causing any casualties.
The Houthis, who swept into Yemen's capital, Sanaa, in September, now
control nine of the country's 21 provinces.The turmoil comes as Yemen battles al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the target of the US drone programme, and faces a purported affiliate of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which claimed responsibility for a series of suicide bombings on mosques, killing at least 142 people on Friday.