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YEMEN’S prime minister was preparing to flee to Saudi Arabia yesterday after separatists backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) seized the area around the presidential palace in the southern city of Aden in fierce battles.
A Saudi-led coalition that includes the UAE, armed and advised by Britain and the US, has been battling rebels in northern Yemen for nearly three years in a bid to prop up President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
But despite having a common enemy, the UAE and Mr Hadi have been locked in a long-running power struggle, which boiled over on Sunday as clashes erupted across Aden.
Fighters loyal to the so-called Southern Transitional Council fought all way to the gates of the palace in central Aden, forcing Mr Hadi’s troops to abandon their positions.
Security officials said Mr Hadi’s Prime Minister Ahmed Obaid bin Daghar and several cabinet members would leave Yemen imminently for Riyadh, where Mr Hadi has been for most of the war.
Saudi troops who have been guarding the palace for months stopped the separatists at the gate, preventing them from entering.
Mr Hadi has described the separatists’ action as a “coup.”
The violence has killed at least 36 people and wounded 185 since Sunday, according to the Red Cross.
• Al-Qaida militants attacked a checkpoint in the southern Shabwa province, killing at least 12 soldiers in an area where Yemeni troops had claimed victory against the extremist group.
Al-Qaida claimed the attack, saying it was retaliation for abuses by US and UAE-backed forces.
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