Yemen’s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia on Thursday as Houthi rebels battled with his forces on the outskirts of Aden, the southern port city where he was taking refuge, Reuters reported.
Following the departure under Saudi protection, Hadi intends to go to Egypt over the weekend to attend an Arab summit, the report said.
The developments came as warplanes from Saudi Arabia and Arab allies struck at the Shi’ite Houthis and allied army units, who have taken over much of Yemen in a bid to oust Hadi.
Yemen’s capital city Sanaa, which is under the control of the Houthi rebels, saw fresh airstrikes Thursday evening, shaking whole neighborhoods and terrifying residents, the report said.
Air and ground force bases loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose supporters have bolstered the Houthi advance, were targeted in the strikes.
The bombing is said to have resulted in several civilian casualties.
The Saudi-led military intervention marked a major escalation of the Yemen crisis, in which Iran supports the Shi’ite Muslim Houthis, and Sunni Muslim monarchies in the Gulf back Hadi and his fellow Sunnis in Yemen’s south, the report noted.
Meanwhile, concerns are growing that the conflict could disrupt the narrow Bab el-Mandeb strait, through which nearly 4 million barrels of oil are shipped daily to Europe, the US and Asia.
Oil prices surged as much as 6 percent on Thursday on worries over the Yemen crisis.
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