Yemen ministers back from Saudi exile in ‘liberated’ Aden

Yemeni ministers have arrived back in Aden after the government announced the ‘liberation’ of the country’s second city

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Yemeni ministers have arrived back in Aden from Saudi exile after the government announced the “liberation” of the country’s second city from Iran-backed rebels, the interior minister said on Saturday.

“We arrived last night,” Abdo al-Huzeifi told AFP, adding that he was accompanied by Transport Minister Badr Basalma and several security officials.

Huzeifi did not say how the delegation reached Aden.

But Saudi-owned daily Asharq al-Awsat quoted a Saudi security official as saying that they had flown from Riyadh to Eritrea and then travelled on by boat.

The minister said that the rebels had been pushed out of the city, except for “few besieged groups that are refusing to surrender.”

The Riyadh-based government said on Friday that its loyalists had ousted the rebels and renegade troops who had seized much of Aden in March, forcing President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi into exile.

“The government announces the liberation of the province of Aden,” Vice President Khaled Bahah said on Facebook.

But witnesses said that rebels remained in control of the city’s Al-Tawahi district on Saturday and that heavy fighting was continuing there.

Southern militiamen of the Popular Resistance launched Operation Golden Arrow against the rebels on Tuesday, boosted by reinforcements freshly trained and equipped in Saudi Arabia.

A Saudi-led coalition has also kept up the air campaign it launched in March.

At dawn on Saturday, coalition aircraft bombed a rebel reinforcement convoy east of Aden, killing 25 fighters, a military official said.

AFP could not independently verify the toll.

Aden was Hadi’s last refuge after he fled the capital Sanaa earlier this year as the rebels took over the government and launched an offensive in which they seized much of the country.

Swathes of the city have been reduced to rubble by the four months of ferocious fighting.

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