Hadi's Aden palace evacuated after Houthi strike

Published March 19th, 2015 - 05:46 GMT

The presidential palace in the southern city of Aden has been evacuated after having been targeted by an airstrike carried out by Yemen's Shiite Houthi group, a government official said Thursday.

"President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his aides have been evacuated from the palace after it was struck by a warplane," the official told The Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.

He gave no word, however, as to Hadi's current whereabouts.

A government official had earlier told AA that a Houthi plane had broken the sound barrier over the palace.

"Air-defense systems forced the plane to fly at high altitudes," he said.

Earlier in February, the Houthis issued what they described as a constitutional declaration dissolving parliament and establishing a 551-member transitional council.

The declaration, however, was rejected by most of Yemen's political forces — along with some neighboring Gulf countries — which described it as a "coup against constitutional legitimacy."

Pro-Houthi pilots carried out Aden airstrikes

A warplane flown by pilots affiliated with the Shiite Houthi movement carried out the airstrikes that struck Aden's presidential palace earlier Thursday, a Yemeni Air Force source has said.

"The plane took off from Sanaa's Al-Dailami airbase, which is under Houthi control," the source, requesting anonymity, told The Anadolu Agency.

Orders were given to the pilots by the head of the Air Force's operations division and the deputy chief of staff, both of whom, the source asserted, were collaborating with the Houthis.

The Houthis, for their part, have yet to comment on the source's assertions.

Earlier Thursday, Aden's presidential palace — where President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi is currently based — was attacked by an unidentified aircraft, prompting his supporters to evacuate the site.

According to a government official, Hadi and his aides were evacuated from the palace following the airstrike.

Late last month, Hadi fled Sanaa – where he had been kept under house arrest by the Houthis for weeks – to Aden.

Upon his arrival in the southern city, Hadi dismissed as "null" and "illegitimate" all recently-issued Houthi decrees. He also wrote to Yemen's parliament, withdrawing a resignation he had tendered earlier.

Clashes between pro-Hadi vigilantes and security forces have recently become commonplace in Aden.

Yemen has been in turmoil since 2011, when a popular uprising erupted that led to the resignation one year later of autocratic President Ali Abullah Saleh.

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