Mansour Hadi

President Hadi has been under pressure for months

President Hadi has been under pressure for months

President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was reported to be inside the house but an official insisted that he was safe.

The attack on Mr Hadi?s home came after the rebels entered the presidential palace in another part of the city following a brief clash with guards.

Yemen, a key US ally in the fight against al-Qaeda in the region, has been beset by unrest for months.

Houthi militias, who are seeking greater autonomy for their home province, overran Sanaa in September after moving out of their northern stronghold.

However, the capital?s presidential buildings have so far remained outside their control.

Information Minister Nadia al-Sakkaf said on Twitter that the president?s home had come under heavy shelling from armed forces positioned on rooftops nearby.

An unnamed Yemeni government official told Reuters news agency: ?The president is inside and he is fine.?

Another official said two people had been killed in the fighting.

Witnesses said the shelling died down after about half an hour.

The ceasefire that broke down on Tuesday was agreed just one day earlier after hours of fierce clashes in the city between the Presidential Guard and Houthis.

Under an agreement with President Hadi, the Houthis ? who abducted the president?s chief of staff, Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak, on Saturday ? pledged to withdraw from the capital once a new unity government was formed.

Fighting condemned

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the latest clashes and called for an end to all hostilities and the immediate restoration of order.

?The secretary-general is gravely concerned about the deteriorating situation in Yemen,? the UN said in a statement.

?He deplores the heavy fighting between Ansarallah (Houthi) armed groups and Yemeni presidential guards throughout Sanaa.?

The clashes came as the UN Security Council held a special meeting on Yemen.

The UN special envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, told members via video link that the Houthis had persuaded other military units not to fight them, a diplomat at the closed-door session told Reuters.

Uprisings

The Houthis, who adhere to a branch of Shia Islam known as Zaidism, have staged periodic uprisings since 2004 in an effort to win greater autonomy for their northern heartland of Saada province.

They consolidated their control over Saada during the 2011 uprising that forced long-time President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.

Since July the rebels have inflicted defeats on tribal and militia groups backed by the leading Sunni Islamist party, Islah, and battled jihadist militants from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has vowed to defend the country?s Sunni community.

Opponents allege that the rebels ultimately hope to reinstall the Zaidi imamate, which ruled North Yemen for almost 1,000 years until 1962.

Source: Agencies

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