Powerful explosions rock Yemen capital

SANAA (AFP) - Powerful explosions rocked Sanaa Thursday night as a Saudi-led coalition carried out air strikes against Shi'ite rebels in control of the Yemeni capital, an AFP correspondent reported.

There were also strikes in the south of the country, while clashes continued in the southern port of Aden, the bastion of embattled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

Anti-aircraft fire erupted in response to what witnesses said were air strikes by the coalition forces against a camp at Al-Istiqbal, at Sanaa's western entrance.

Witnesses also said strikes targeted Al-Samaa military base, north of Sanaa, which is used by army units believed to take orders from their former commander, Ahmed Ali Saleh.

Saleh is the son of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is accused of allying with the rebels against the government, relying on the loyalty of troops he built up during his three-decade rule.

In the south, where rebels and forces loyal to Saleh had been pushing to expand their zone of control, two air raids targeted Al-Anad airbase, north of Aden, which rebels seized Wednesday, military sources said.

Another raid targeted a base of special forces allied with the Huthis in Qatabah, some 120km north of Aden, local residents said.

Jet fighters were also spotted flying over Abyan, mainly over the base of Al-Majd army brigade, which is accused of being linked to the rebels, witnesses said.

In Aden, where Hadi took refuge after escaping house arrest under Huthis in Sanaa last month, clashes between local paramilitary and rebels continued late Thursday.

A rebel-linked army unit based near Aden's international airport had seized the facility Wednesday and clashed with local militia.

Hadi arrived in Riyadh Thursday and is expected to participate Saturday in an Arab summit in Egypt.

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