Yemen’s al-Qaida branch has exploited the chaos in this embattled country to capture three towns near the southern port city of Aden where pro-government forces have been advancing against Shiite rebels in recent weeks, officials said Thursday.
In conflicting reports, officials in Yemen’s government claim that Egypt has sent ground troops to fight alongside government forces, while independent journalists and analysts say that there are no Egyptian soldiers present.
The seizure of Al Anad military base, once the hub of a U.S. drone war against Al Qaeda’s potent Yemen branch, would mark a significant gain for the Saudi Arabian-backed troops fighting to reclaim large tracts of territory from Shiite Muslim rebels known as Houthis.
Fighters loyal to Yemen’s deposed president seized about 10 southern villages from Houthi forces on Tuesday, maintaining momentum in their offensive a day after capturing the country’s biggest air base, residents and loyalist sources said.
Asseri, whose side has been conducting air raids on Houthis since March 26, said the first task was to secure Aden so the government could operate from there for the moment. The coalition also struck upper of the port-city of Aden.
The WFP had sent aid ahead of the truce to the rebel-controlled port of Hodeidah in western Yemen, but the insurgents did not allow an aid convoy to travel to Aden. The ship had initially reached the city on June 26 but was diverted from the port until it had a safe place to...