Key sites in Yemen’s third-largest city have fallen to Houthi rebels, security officials say.
According to reports, the Shi’ite militant group has taken control of the international airport in Taiz, as well as other key areas, leading to city-wide protests.
The Houthis’ latest operation in a seven-month anti-government offensive has raised fears the country is surging toward civil war.
Their takeover comes a day after leaders on both sides of the conflict issued calls for the ‘general mobilisation’ of fighters.
One local man vowed not to go down without a struggle:
“The people of Taiz are all here with one sole mission: to refute and reject the militiamen,” he said. “The people of Taiz will always be there to defend the town with their bodies and souls. They won’t leave their posts unless the militiamen leave the region.”
President Hadi made a similar call on Saturday (March 22), demanding that the rebels withdraw from Yemen’s cities. In February 2015, he fled to Aden after the Houthis stormed the capital Sana’a.