Fighting flares in Yemen's Aden after separatist 'coup' attempt
Aden: Fresh fighting flared in Yemen's southern city of Aden on Monday after separatist forces seized government buildings in what the prime minister said was an attempted coup. Aden has served as the headquarters of Saudi-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's government since it was forced out of the capital Sanaa by Shiite rebels three years ago.
The separatists –who want the return of the independent South Yemen that existed before 1990 –supported Hadi's forces against the rebels but tensions between the two sides have risen in recent months.
The flare-up in Aden has added yet another dimension to one of the world's most complicated conflicts, a civil war that left thousands dead and millions on the brink of starvation.
On Monday, sporadic clashes continued after fighting overnight in the port city, especially in its north where separatist forces tried to take control of a military camp, security sources said.
The separatists dispatched additional forces from the central province of Marib and the southern province of Abyan, the sources said. The forces from Abyan progressed towards Aden after clashes with loyalists on the way.
After the separatists seized the government headquarters on Sunday, Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher on Sunday denounced a "coup... in Aden against legitimacy and the country's unity".
He urged a Saudi-led military coalition backing Hadi to intervene in its defence. The coalition launched air strikes against the Iran-backed Huthi rebels in March 2015 and sent troops to support Hadi's forces, fearing that Tehran would gain a foothold in the country on Saudi Arabia's southern border.
On Sunday, security sources said pro-separatist units trained and backed by the United Arab Emirates had taken over the government headquarters in Aden after clashes. By early evening, separatists took control of two roads leading to the presidential palace where several members of the government were staying, security sources said.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said fighting continued overnight in the port city.
"All night shooting in Aden #Yemen, including heavy weapons," Alexandre Faite, the head of the ICRC delegation in the country based in Sanaa, said on Twitter. "Those in southern part of city, including (ICRC staff) still unable to get out."