SANAA, Yemen — Yemen’s Shiite rebels are advancing into southern Yemen, clashing Tuesday with rival militias loyal to the country’s current president. The rebels, along with soldiers from an army battalion loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh, have taken over the governor’s office in the city of al-Dhalea, capital of a southern province with the same name, according to witnesses.
In a second southern city, the rebels — known as Houthis — cracked down on thousands of protesters, killing one. Rebels and police commandos loyal to Saleh used live bullets, tear gas and riot batons against protesters in the recently captured city of Taiz, witnesses said. A medical official said one protester died from his wounds and dozens were injured — four of them seriously.
In al-Dhalea, the rebel forces clashed with militias loyal to current President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi using artillery, anti-aircraft guns and machine guns, a Yemeni official said. The officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.
Hadi fled the capital, Sanaa, which has been in rebel hands since September, and has taken refuge in the southern city of Aden. He has declared the city Yemen’s new provisional capital and asked Gulf countries to intervene militarily to halt the Houthi takeover. Hadi also asked the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone so that the rebels cannot use captured airports and warplanes.