SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen’s anti-rebel fighters said Saturday they took over the capital of southern Shabwah province, as officials close to the Iran-allied rebels confirmed they withdrew after coming under attack.
Groups fighting the rebels known as Houthis are consolidating their control over the province after taking the capital, Ataq, anti-rebel security officials said. The Saudi-led coalition also fighting the Houthis has been sending heavy ground weaponry, including tanks and armored vehicles, to anti-rebel forces at a Shabwah sea port the past four days, the security officials said.
Security officials close to the Houthis said the withdrawal was a tactical move, without elaborating.Witnesses in Ataq said they heard explosions early Saturday as anti-Houthi forces began to claim the town. Government buildings were looted after the Houthi withdrawal, witnesses said.