Yemeni forces backed by Saudi airstrikes said they made progress in the battle to oust Houthi rebels from the southern port city of Aden, two days after they recaptured the city’s international airport.
Forces loyal to Yemen’s exiled President Abdurabuh Mansur Hadi entered the commercial district of Crater and seized large parts of the port area of Mualla, Mahmud Shaker, a local resident, said by telephone. Hadi hailed a “great victory in Aden” in a televised speech, and Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said the city had been “liberated.” Houthi officials didn’t answer telephone calls Thursday seeking comment on the situation in Aden.
The advance against the rebels in Aden marks the first major success since the Saudis and allies began a bombing campaign against the Houthis in March, soon after the rebels drove Hadi and his government out of Aden, their last stronghold in the country. They sought refuge in Saudi Arabia.
Al Arabiya television reported that the interior, transportation and deputy health ministers in Hadi’s government had returned to Aden. State-controlled Saba news agency hasn’t reported their arrival.
The escalation of the conflict in Yemen has led the United Nations and other agencies to warn of the risk of a humanitarian disaster. A UN-brokered cease-fire last week failed to take hold.