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The New Arab & agencies

Exiled ministers return to Yemen's Aden

Fighters loyal to exiled Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi in Aden's Khormaksar district [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 July, 2015

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Several senior officials arrived in Yemen's Aden on Thursday in the first visit by the exiled government only hours before Houthi rebels launched an attack on city's airport.

A number of ministers and high ranking intelligence officers from the exiled internationally recognised Yemeni government touched down in the port city of Aden for the first time in more than three months, as hours after Houthi rebels fire rockets, killing at least three.

Arriving by helicopter at a military air base on Thursday, the group included the ministers of interior and transport, the former interior minister, the intelligence chief, and the deputy head of the house of representatives. 

"(Exiled President) Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi delegated this group to return to Aden to work to prepare the security situation and ensure stability ahead of a revival of the institutions of state in Aden," one of the officials told Reuters.

The move follows several key reversals for Yemen's dominant Houthi group in Aden at the hands of Saudi-backed Yemeni fighters.

The port city has been a main priority for the warring sides since Houthi fighters began laying siege to it in March.

Hours after the arrival of the officials, Houthi rebels fired rockets at the airport of the southern port city of Aden, killing at least three.

A government official said the rebels fired Katyusha rockets that landed in the vicinity of the airport early Thursday.

The Saudi-backed troops and fighters, along with Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, had pushed the rebels out of the airport Tuesday.

In a statement to the Houthi-controlled Saba news agency, a spokesman said the rebels are fighting back, and are advancing in a neighbourhood northwest of the airport.

However, the government official said the Saudi-backed forces control about 80 percent of Aden, which has been scene of intense fighting since March.

More than 3,500 people have been killed in the airstrikes and fighting in Yemen, according to the United Nations.

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