MOSCOW, January 20 (Sputnik) – Two members of the Yemeni presidential guard lost their lives, as Houthi rebels captured the presidential palace, Al Arabiya television channel reported Tuesday.
The new information comes after a military source told Sputnik that the palace, located in the country's capital Sanaa, had been taken over by the insurgents.
New clashes took place after a ceasefire between the Houthi rebels and the presidential guard members had been declared Monday. The ceasefire started at 16:30 local time (13:30 GMT), following unrest outside the palace earlier the same day.
Confrontation in Yemen started Saturday when presidential chief of staff Ahmed Awad Mubarak and two of his guards were kidnapped. 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.