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Houthi Gunmen Guard President’s Home But Deny He’s Been Toppled

Under Fire in Yemen: Houthi Fighters Attack President's Residence 0:32

SANAA — Yemeni rebels took up guard at President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's home on Wednesday but said they had not toppled him, after two days of fighting that have put the Shiite Muslim group in all but total control of the capital.

The Houthi fighters, who are friendly to Iran, have emerged as the dominant force in the country but, for now at least, appear to have decided to stop short of overthrowing Hadi, possibly preferring to keep the enfeebled leader at their mercy rather than claim the burden of seizing power.

Their defeat of the presidential guards in gunbattles and artillery duels in recent days adds to disarray in a country where the United States is also carrying out drone strikes against one of the most powerful branches of al Qaeda.

"President Hadi is still in his home. There is no problem, he can leave," Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a member of the Houthi politburo, told Reuters.

Meanwhile, security authorities closed air, sea and land crossings into Yemen's southern port city of Aden on Wednesday, a local television station reported.

The manager of Aden airport said the airport had been closed from early morning until further notice on the orders of the local security committee. A statement from the committee said the Houthi attacks in Sanaa were an "aggressive coup on the president personally and on the political process as a whole.”

IN-DEPTH

— Reuters