Houthi rebels seize airport in Yemen

22 March 2015 (Last Updated March 22nd, 2015 18:30)

Houthi rebels have taken over an international airport in south Yemen, with the UN declaring the country to be at the edge of civil war.

Houthi rebels have taken over an international airport in south Yemen, with the UN declaring the country to be at the edge of civil war.

CNN reported that the rebels had taken over the airport in Taiz as they swept across the city and neighbouring provinces.

Apart from the airport, the rebels have also seized security and intelligence buildings in Taiz and set up checkpoints in the area.

Last week, the international airport in Aden had been attacked by loyalists of the country's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Saleh is allied with the Shiite rebels called Houthis and the recent violence is being said to be a sudden escalation of the conflict between Saleh and Yemen's current president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

This development came two days after Hadi gave a televised speech where he challenged the Houthis calling the movement's rule in the capital and elsewhere a coup against constitutional legitimacy, reported Press TV.

Al Jazeera reported that tanks and armoured personnel carriers carrying Houthi fighters had crossed into al-Dhalie and Aden governorates.

The rebels captured the airport in the middle of demonstrations against both the Houthis and Saleh who is said to be backing the Houthis.

Yemeni anti-aircraft guns reportedly opened fire at an unidentified plane flying over Hadi's compound in Aden. This happened less than a week after fighter planes bombed the palace where the current president has been residing.

Meanwhile, the UN voiced its support for Hadi who had called for an urgent intervention following mounting violence in the country.