Officials: exiled Yemeni government ministers touch down in Aden
Fighters loyal to exiled Yemeni president Hadi seized the southern port city Aden's airport from Houthi control in recent days. (AFP/Saleh al-Obeidi)
Several ministers and top intelligence officials touched down in Yemen's war-torn southern city of Aden Thursday, Yemeni officials said, in the first visit by the exiled government based in Saudi Arabia in more than three months of war.
The move follows several key reversals for Yemen's dominant Houthi group at the hands of Saudi-backed Yemeni fighters. Aden has been a main priority for the warring sides since Houthi fighters began laying siege to it in March.
Arriving by helicopter at a military air base on Aden's western approaches, the group included the ministers of the interior and transport, the former interior minister, the intelligence chief, and the deputy head of the house of representatives.
"(Exiled President) Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi delegated this group to return to Aden to work to prepare the security situation and ensure stability ahead of a revival of the institutions of state in Aden," one of the officials told Reuters.
Local fighters have wrested the city's airport and main seaport from the northern militia group in the past two days, in fighting that medics say has killed and wounded dozens.
The Houthis say their takeover of the capital Sanaa in September and armed push into Yemen's south and east in March and April are part of a revolution against a corrupt government and hardline Sunni Muslim militants.
More than 3,500 people have been killed in the air strikes and fighting, according to the United Nations.