AL MUKALLA, Yemen — In a major escalation of Yemen’s civil conflict, rival factions in the southern city of Aden fought for control of the international airport and a security base, leaving at least three people dead, according to Yemeni officials.
Explosions could be heard throughout the city on Thursday, and at one point, warplanes conducted bombing raids on the compound of Yemen’s president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was unharmed.
Violence has flared repeatedly in Yemen since the Zaydi Shiite rebel militia, known as the Houthis, took control of the capital, Sana, in September, setting off a power struggle between political factions and militias that has brought the country closer to civil war.
But outbreaks of large-scale fighting in the port city of Aden have been rare. The clashes on Thursday quickly raised fears of a widening conflagration in the south, a stronghold for a separatist movement as well as a powerful affiliate of Al Qaeda.
Tensions in the city had been building for some time, mirroring a broader political crisis that has essentially divided the country between rival seats of power in Sana and Aden.