Yemen’s Shia Ansarullah revolutionaries and government troops have clashed in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a.
According to witnesses, gunfire and several explosions were heard across the city and near the Presidential Palace in southern Sana’a on Monday.
Security officials closed roads leading to the area. However, some reports said clashes are occurring inside the palace as columns of black smoke rose over the place.
Meanwhile, the Houthis’ al-Maseera satellite television channel said the military opened fire on their patrol in the area of the palace, which led to the outbreak of the violence
Yemen has seen rising tensions between Ansarullah fighters, also known as Houthis, and the government troops after the Shia fighters arrested Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi’s chief of staff, at a checkpoint in the country’s southern district of Hada.
Mubarak is also the secretary general of the national dialogue committee which aims to secure a political transition in the strife-torn country. Ansarullah revolutionaries accuse him of being a foreign agent.
They said that he would remain in custody, so that President Hadi lives up to the terms of Yemen’s national dialogue, adding that the detention aims to prevent the agreement between Ansarullah movement and the Yemeni government “from being broken.”
The impoverished Arab country is currently grappling with a severe political crisis between the central government and Ansarullah revolutionaries.
In September 2014, Ansarullah revolutionary fighters gained control of Sana’a following a four-day battle with army forces loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, the half-brother of the country’s former dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh.
In the same month, Ansarullah fighters and President Hadi’s government inked a UN-backed ceasefire deal which called for the withdrawal of the revolutionaries from the capital once a neutral prime minister was picked. The deal has failed to deliver any practical results so far.