Yemen’s presidential palace in Sanaa is apparently under siege after rebels seized the building this afternoon. According to the BBC, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was not there when the rebels moved in. He was reported to be at his residence, which rebels also began targeting around the same time they seized the palace, which is where his office is located.
Details on the Yemen attack
Reuters reports that fighters with Yemen’s Houthi rebels clashed briefly with security guards at the compound before taking it over. The guards reportedly said they handed it over to the fighters after the short battle.
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According to the Associated Press, a commander for the Yemeni army described today’s siege of the presidential palace as a “coup.” The media outlet further reports that the Houthi rebels entered the palace with the assistance of insiders. An army official also reportedly told the Associated Press that the rebels began looting army depots on the grounds of the palace.
Rebels also said to be attacking president’s residence
In addition to seizing of the presidential palace, CBS News reports that rebels also began shelling the presidential residence. That’s according to a Twitter post from Yemeni Information Minister Nadia al-Sakkaf.
She said rebels began “heavy shelling” on the residence at around 3 p.m. Yemen time. The assailants were said to be on top of rooftops facing the president’s home.
U.S. embassy clashes continue in Yemen
CNN reports that last night, fighters targeted a vehicle for the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa. The attack capped a day filled by intense fighting around Yemen’s presidential palace. In those clashes, 67 people were injured and nine others were killed before government officials and representatives for the Houthi militants agreed to a ceasefire. The rebels reportedly took over Yemen’s state TV station and the SABA news agency.
Today officials with the U.S. Embassy in Yemen said the attackers fired shots into the air first before firing directly at its vehicle. U.S. diplomats were in the vehicle, which was located at a checkpoint not far from the embassy. No one was injured in the incident.
U.S. officials told NBC News last night that they didn’t feel it was necessary to evacuate the embassy in Yemen in spite of the fighting. Yemen is an important ally for the U.S. in the Middle East in the battle against al-Qaeda. The nation has seen much fighting in the last several months.