Fighters belonging to the Southern Transitional Council, seeking secession from the rest of Yemen, reportedly took control of the port city of Aden on Tuesday after two days of fighting.
Reuters reported that the internationally-recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was confined to the presidential palace within the city. Hadi’s government has been operating from Aden since it was recaptured from Houthi forces in 2015, while he remains in self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia.
Moreover, Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr was reportedly preparing to flee the country on Tuesday for Saudi Arabia after separatists seized the area around the presidential palace in Aden in fierce battles overnight, according to the Associated Press.
On the other hand, a suicide attack by Al-Qaeda targeted a security checkpoint in Yemen’s Shabwa province. The attack resulted in the death 14 soldiers and plenty others wounded on Tuesday.
The checkpoint was manned by an elite Yemeni army unit, called “the Shabwa elite forces”, which controls a junction in the province, and has been actively fighting Al-Qaeda since August 2017.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has been active in southern Yemeni provinces, has been considered the radical group’s most dangerous branch. The Islamic State group has also been active in central and southern Yemen, though its growth was curbed by the strong Al-Qaeda presence.
The US military has been conducting drone strikes over Yemen, targeting AQAP since 2010. But the scale and frequency of attacks have intensified since US President Donald Trump took office in January 2017.