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Shia Houthi rebels

Yemen’s presidential residence in capital Sanaa has been attacked by Shia Houthi rebels.

President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi is inside the palace, reports suggest.

It came after the rebels reportedly overran the presidential palace in another party of the city.

Yemen, a key US ally in the fight against al-Qaeda in the region, has seen unrest for months. Shia Houthi militias overran Sanaa in September after moving out of their northern Yemen stronghold.

However, the presidential buildings of Sanaa have so far remained outside their control.

Information Minister Nadia al-Sakkaf announced on Twitter that the presidential residence had come under heavy shelling from armed forces positioned on rooftops nearby.Yemen presidential palace seized by Shia Houthi rebels

A unnamed Yemeni government official told Reuters news agency that clashes were under way at President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi’s residence, adding: “The president is in the residence and he is fine.”

Col. Saleh al-Jamalani, commander of the presidential guards, described the events as a “coup”.

He told the AP news agency that the rebels who swept into the presidential palace complex had been helped by insiders and were looting arm depots in the palace grounds.

The rebels abducted President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi’s chief of staff, Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak, on January 17.

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Yemen president’s chief of staff Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak has been abducted by gunmen, officials have said.

Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak and two of his guards were kidnapped early on Saturday in the centre of the capital Sanaa.

Yemeni officials suspect Shia Houthi rebels, who control much of the capital, of being behind the abduction.Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak kidnapped

Yemen has been plagued by instability since mass protests forced former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to step down in 2011.

Scores of people have been killed in clashes between the Houthis and Sunni militants.

One source told Reuters Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak was kidnapped by the Houthis to stop him presenting a draft of the new constitution to a presidential meeting.

The rebels blocked Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak’s appointment as prime minister last year.