Anti-Houthi fighters seize districts in central and southern Yemen
Houthis declared a state of emergency in the capital city Sanaa
Yemeni Popular Resistance forces on Sunday captured from Houthi rebels multiple cities in the country's central and southern provinces, including the capital of the Abyan province, the city of Zinjibar, which fell to the pro-government forces after days of fighting.
The fighters seized four districts in the central province of Ibb on Monday, residents and local officials said, bringing the armed resistance closer to the group's stronghold in the capital Sanaa.
Yemeni news sites reported that Central Bank governor, Mohamed Bin Hammam, managed to escape from Sanaa and moved to to Hadramout as battles are approaching the capital.
The rapid progress of the Popular Resistance and the national army pushed Houthi and former President Ali Abdallah Saleh’s militias to retreat in several provinces. Due to this, the Houthis declared a state of emergency in the capital city Sanaa, sources told Al Arabiya News.
The state of emergency took effect shortly after midnight as the group had braced for an offensive by the Popular Resistance.
Senior Yemeni military commander Abdullah Subaihi said last week he expected government forces to retake Sanaa within two weeks.
The pro-government commander said: "Popular Resistance forces and the national army, backed by tanks supplied by the Saudi-led Arab coalition, managed in the early hours of Sunday to seize control of the 15th military brigade and all government buildings" in Sanaa.
Pro-government troops first entered Zinjibar after overrunning a Houthi barracks and also seized the towns of al-Hazm and al-Odain, in southern Yemen's Ibb province.
Over the past two weeks, pro-government forces have gained control of the Lahej, Aden and Dalea provinces, all in Yemen's south.