March 23, 2015 / 8:55 AM / 5 years ago

Yemeni forces fight off Shi'ite militia heading for Aden - sources

Southern People's Resistance militants loyal to Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi gather at the al-Anad air base in the country's southern province of Lahej, after seizing it March 22, 2015. REUTERS/Nabeel Quaiti

ADEN (Reuters) - Soldiers loyal to Yemeni president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi fought off dozens of Shi’ite Houthi militiamen heading for the Sunni leader’s seat of power in the southern city of Aden, militia sources and a local official told Reuters.

Iran-backed Houthis, who took over the southern city of Taiz on Sunday, agreed to share power with Hadi after they seized the capital in September. That split the army, parliament was dissolved in February and violence is intensifying as the northern-based Houthis head south.

“Southern popular committees and units of the army at dawn on Monday foiled an infiltration attempt on Aden by armed convoys carrying Houthi gunmen in the al-Subayha district in Lahj province,” a local official told Reuters, referring to a tribal area about 100 km (60 miles) north of Aden.

Sources in Hadi’s popular committees militia, tribal fighters in his heartland who fight alongside loyalist soldiers and are backed by Yemen’s Sunni Gulf neighbours, said several Houthis were killed and three of their vehicles destroyed.

Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf; Writing by Noah Browning; Editing by Louise Ireland

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