Ansarullah fighters in Yemen have taken control of the capital of the oil-rich southern Shabwa Province.
Members of Ansarullah movement made significant gains against al-Qaeda militants and the remnants of the former regime on Thursday despite two weeks of Saudi airstrikes.
They took control of government and police installations in Ataq and raised their flag above Muhra airbase outside the city, which was earlier hit by Saudi warplanes.
“The Houthi forces had set up checkpoints at the entrance of Ataq and in its center before overrunning government institutions in the city,” a local official told DPA on condition of anonymity.
Earlier in the day, Saudi fighter jets pounded the Defense Ministry building in the center of the capital city of Sana’a.
The country’s elite Republican Guards in the Faj Attan Hill area in the south of the capital and a base for Republican Guards were also hit.
According to reports, separate raids by Saudi fighter jets struck a food supply building belonging to the Yemeni army in the west of the capital.
Saudi Arabia’s air campaign against Ansarullah fighters started on March 26, without a UN mandate, in a bid to restore power to the country’s fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.
Hundreds of people have so far been killed and thousands more wounded since the beginning of the Saudi aggression. Most victims of the raids are reported to be women and children.
Refugees arrive in Djibouti
Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency said on Thursday that more than 300 Yemeni refugees arrived in neighboring Djibouti.
Frederic Van Hamme, an official with the agency, said that the organization has already registered 308 Yemenis who crossed the Gulf of Aden by boat to reach the African state.
On Wednesday, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Chaloka Beyani, warned of “massive displacement and humanitarian crisis” in the restive country as civilians flee the Saudi bombings and internal clashes.
“Unless rapidly resolved, the crisis could lead to mass displacement in the wake of heavy and ongoing fighting and airstrikes,” said the UN expert.