Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Shiite Rebels Shell Yemeni Leader's House, Seize Presidential Palace

Houses of local residents are seen damaged in clashes that erupted between presidential guards and Shiite Houthi fighters in Sanaa, Yemen, on Tuesday.
Hani Ali Xinhua /Landov
Houses of local residents are seen damaged in clashes that erupted between presidential guards and Shiite Houthi fighters in Sanaa, Yemen, on Tuesday.

The Yemeni president's house is being shelled by Shiite rebels and the presidential palace has been reportedly seized.

Nadia al-Saqqaf, the information minister, said on Twitter that President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi's house was being shelled by Shiite rebels whom Saqqaf called "militias seeking to overthrow the ruling system."

She said Hadi's home has been under attack since 3 p.m.

Reuters quoted an unnamed official as saying "the president is in the residence and he is fine."

The Associated Press is calling the "shelling ... a dramatic escalation in the violence that has gripped Sanaa since Monday."

Earlier, Col. Saleh al-Jamalani, the commander of the Presidential Protection Force, told the AP the Shiite Houthi rebels have seized the presidential palace in Sanaa, the capital. He called it a "coup." He said the rebels were aided by insiders and were looting arms depots on the grounds.

Hadi, the AP reported, wasn't at the presidential palace, but at his residence.

The Shiite Houthi rebels say they are fighting for the rights of Yemen's Zaydi Shiite Muslim sect. As we previously reported, the rebels seized large parts of the country, including the capital, last year.

Al-Jazeera explains the roots of the current crisis in Yemen and what it means for the country and its neighbors.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.