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    Houthi fighters take up position on a street during clashes near the Presidential Palace in Sanaa January 19, 2015.

    Houthis Reportedly Seize Yemeni State News Agency, TV Station

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    Houthi Rebels Shake Yemen (127)
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    Yemeni governmental news agency and television station have been seized by Shiite Houthi rebels, Information Minister Nadia Sakkaf said.

    MOSCOW, January 19 (Sputnik) — Houthi militants have allegedly seized a Yemeni governmental SABA news agency and a state television station Monday, AP reports citing the country's Information Minister Nadia Sakkaf.

    Yemeni information minister made a statement amid ongoing battles between the country's goverment forces and Shiite Houthi rebels.

    "This is a step toward a coup and it is targeting the state’s legitimacy," Sakkaf told AP.

    The rebels have also fired on the Yemeni prime minister's convoy in the country's capital Sanaa, the information minister said, adding that Khaled Bahah was not injured during the attack. The motorcade was attacked as it passed a Houthi checkpoint in the rebel-controlled city, a Lebanon-based LBC news website said.

    The attack, described by a Yemeni government spokesperson as an "assassination attempt," came after after President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and Houthi rebels reportedly reached a ceasefire at a meeting in Sanaa. Despite this, gunfire was heard Monday near the president's residence and in other locations across the city.

    The fighting came two days after Houthi fighters kidnapped President Hadi's chief of staff Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak and two of his guards. Investigators suspect the Houthis, who had opposed Ahmed Mubarak's nomination for prime minister, to be behind the abduction.

    In response to the kidnapping, leaders of Yemen's southern provinces ordered that oil and gas companies in the provinces of Shabwa, Marib, and Hadramaut halt operations.

    The Houthis are the main opposition movement in Yemen, and played a major role in ousting the country's former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2012. The group staged large-scale protests and occupied a number of cities in 2014, demanding the resignation of the government, which they say is corrupt and has marginalized the Shiite community.

    In September 2014, the Houthi insurgency spread over to Yemen's capital Sanaa, and from there militia have advanced into central and western parts of the country.

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    Houthi Rebels Shake Yemen (127)

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    violence, clashes, Shiite Houthi movement, Yemen
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