MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA Novosti) - Several thousand Houthi rebels have entered the city of Ibb in southwestern Yemen without any resistance from its three-million population or local security forces, an eyewitnesses told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
According to local residents, the militants have entered the city on armed vehicles and military hardware, spreading across the streets and occupying the stadium. The movement’s leaders are currently in talks with the province’s authorities, trying to convince them to give up.
Also, the Houthis are reportedly approaching the city of Taiz, some 46 miles from Ibb.
Earlier in the week, Houthi militias performed a bloodless takeover of Dhamar and a major port city of Hodeida. The rebels have also seized a military base of Yemeni army’s armored division near Hodeida – again, without facing any opposition from the troops.
Houthi rebels attacked Yemen’s capital Sanaa in September. The insurgents are still in control of the entrances into Sanaa, as well as many residential buildings in the city.
The Houthis, or the Ansarullah, is the main opposition force in Yemen. The Shia group, backed by Hamas and Hezbollah, has been carrying out protests in the country since mid-August, demanding the resignation of the Yemeni government, which they say is corrupted and marginalizes the Shia community in the country.
On Monday, the group welcomed the appointment of Khaled Bahah as Yemen’s new Prime Minister. Earlier this month, the Houthis rejected the appointment of another Prime Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, saying that the United States orchestrated the move. Mubarak stepped down from the post on October 9.