Saudi-led coalition fires flares over Yemeni port of Aden: residents

Separatists withdraw from key posts in Yemen's Aden

Members of UAE-backed southern Yemeni separatist forces stand by a tank during clashes with government forces in Aden

Al-Huthi added that Saturday's attack was also "a warning to the United Arab Emirates", the other main pillar in the Saudi-led coalition. But the war has rekindled old strains between north and south Yemen - formerly separate countries until 1990. An armed secession bid four years later ended in occupation by northern forces, giving rise to resentments that persist to this day.

The Saudi-backed government's information minister said the southerners had also withdrawn from the hospital and cabinet secretariat, and were in the process of handing over the interior ministry and Aden's refinery.

He described the attacks as "the biggest in the depths of Saudi Arabia" since the start of the Saudi-led coalition air campaign in Yemen in 2015.

Deadly fighting has been raging in Aden since Wednesday and has been pitting the unionist forces that are loyal to the internationally recognized government against the force which does support it, however, is dominated by fighters that are seeking a renewed independence for the south. The UAE recently began withdrawing troops from the conflict, while UAE-allied separatists recently seized the city of Aden, further complicating the civil war seen as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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A correspondent of the AFP reported that he saw separatist fighters gathered around a tank that they claimed to have seized from one of the military positions.

The presidential palace was also placed under Saudi and Emirati protection, they said.

On the other side, the spokesman for the Aden-based STC Nizar Haitham, said what happened in Aden "is not a withdrawal in its true sense, but there were some mutual understandings with the Arab coalition forces for the good of the citizens".

The separatists' takeover of Aden has strained a Saudi-led military coalition formed to confront the Iranian-aligned Houthis, who bombed a Saudi oil facility on Saturday.

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Saudi Arabia and the UAE have repeatedly accused Iran of supplying weapons, including ballistic missiles, to the Houthi rebels, an accusation Tehran has consistently denied. Shaybah sits some 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) from Houthi-controlled territory, underscoring the rebels' ability to now strike at both nations, which are mired in Yemen's yearslong war.

Meanwhile, the Yemeni embassy in Washington earlier this week tweeted a foreign ministry statement welcoming the Saudi initiative to address the "coup" in Aden.

He noted that vacating the military bases seized by the STC forces may be discussed during the upcoming Saudi-brokered reconciliation talks between the two warring rivals in Riyadh.

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