What We Know So Far
- President Abdu Rabu Mansur Hadiand and the Shiite rebels reached an agreement to end the siege.
- The Huthi rebels in Yemen were holding the president captive at his home, two advisers told the Associated Press.
- On Tuesday, the rebels overtook the presidential palace and shelled his private residence.
- Yemeni army Col. Saleh al-Jamalani described the actions to the Associated Press as an attempted "coup."
In response to the changing security situation in Yemen, the United States Embassy in Sana'a has further reduced its American personnel working in Yemen. Our Embassy in Sana'a has been on ordered departure since last September. While the Embassy remains open and is continuing to operate, we may continue to re-align resources based on the situation on the ground. We will continue to operate as normal, albeit with reduced staff. We are also continuously reassessing the situation on the ground based on our staffing needs.
Yemen cabinet resigned, according to the Associated Press.
Yemen's spokesperson in D.C. also confirmed the resignation of President Hadi.
The president reached an agreement with the Shiite fighters to leave his house where he was held captive, the Associated Press reported.
The agreement, reached late Wednesday, also called for the rebels to release one of the president's top aides who was kidnapped days ago, according to Yemen's state news agency.
From the AP:
SABA said the agreement also included a clause that would answer the rebels' demands to amend the constitution and expand their representation in the parliament and in state institutions.
Huthi rebels are holding the president at his home, two of his aids told the AP.
The AP reported:
The advisers say President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi "cannot leave his house" after the Huthi rebels removed his guards and deployed their own fighters at the premises on Wednesday.
One of the advisers says the situation in Yemen has reached the "point of no return," that the military is in shambles while the country's security apparatus has been "crippled" after the Huthis' blitz.
The members of the Security Council expressed their grave concern about the worsening political and security crisis in Yemen. The members of the Security Council called upon all parties to implement a full and lasting ceasefire, and underscored the importance of full implementation of the terms of the Peace and National Partnership Agreement, including its Security Annex, the National Dialogue Conference Outcomes, and the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and Implementation Mechanism. The members of the Security Council underlined that President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi is the legitimate authority based on election results and the terms of the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and Implementation Mechanism. The members of the Security Council emphasised that all parties and political actors in Yemen must stand with President Hadi, Prime Minister Bahah, and Yemen's Cabinet to keep the country on track to stability and security. The members of the Security Council urged all the parties in Yemen to resolve their differences through dialogue and consultation, to reject acts of violence to achieve political goals, to refrain from provocation, and to fully abide by resolutions 2014 (2011), 2051 (2012) and 2140 (2014). In this regard the members of the Security Council fully support the efforts of the good offices of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, Jamal Benomar, as well as the GCC and G10 initiatives. The members of the Security Council condemned the recourse to violence in recent days, including the use of abduction, and urged all parties in Yemen to commit to the established processes of dialogue and consultation. In particular, the members of the Security Council condemned the attack on 19 January against the Presidential Palace in Sana'a and rejected such violent efforts to undermine or interfere with Yemen)s legitimate government institutions. The members of the Security Council further called on all sides to show restraint in Marivand to resolve their differences peacefully through the Presidential Committee and the support of the Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Yemen. The members of the Security Council welcomed the completion of a draft constitution and its referral to the National Authority, and looked forward to the start of the public consultation on the draft. The members of the Security Council called for all parties to rapidly engage in finalising the constitution in a constructive manner which responds to the aspirations of the Yemeni people.
Huthi leader Abd al-Malik al-Huthi spoke live on Yemeni television, condemning the president and ruling authority for protecting their own interests.
In addition to attacking French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo for its depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, al-Huthi called on the Yemeni government to implement a power-sharing deal that was signed last year.
"This move is serious and we are determined and will not hesitate to impose any necessary measures to implement the peace and partnership agreement," al-Huthi said, in comments translated by Reuters.
The leader of the Shiite movement made several demands, including calling for the amendment of the country's draft constitution and to deploy the military to better manage security.
The attempted coup has also been confirmed by Yemen's Information Minister Nadia Sakkaf. "Yemeni president under attack by armed militias seeking the overthrow of the ruling system," Sakkaf wrote on Twitter.
The U.N. Security Council has held an emergency meeting on the situation in Yemen, according to the U.K.'s representative.
Yemen's U.N. Ambassador Jamal Benomar reportedly told the closed-door meeting that the Huthi rebels had persuaded other military units not to fight them, according to Reuters.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is "gravely concerned" about the situation in Yemen, his office said Tuesday.
"The Secretary-General calls on all sides to immediately cease all hostilities, exercise maximum restraint, and take the necessary steps to restore full authority to the legitimate government institutions," a statement read.
President Abdu Rabu Mansur Hadi is believed to be inside his private residence, currently under shelling attack from rebel forces, the AP reported.
As the AP reported:
Col. Saleh al-Jamalani, the commander of the Presidential Protection Force that guards embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, says the rebels swept into the presidential palace on Tuesday afternoon.
He told The Associated Press that the rebels were aided by insiders and are looting arm depots on the palace grounds.
Hadi was not at the presidential palace during the takeover but at his residence.
Clashes began between the Yemeni army and Huthi rebels near the presidential palace in the capital, Sanaa.
Gunfire was heard across the city and close to the president's residence, multiple reports said.
Security closed roads leading to the area, The Guardian reported.
On Monday evening, shots were fired at a U.S. Embassy vehicle at a nearby checkpoint, CNN reported, quoting embassy officials. There were no reported injuries.
The government announced a cease-fire after a few hours of fighting. However, a short while later the rebels had seized the state-run TV station and news agency, Al Arabiya reported.
Information Minister Nadia Sakkaf told the AP: "This is a step toward a coup and it is targeting the state's legitimacy."
Prime Minister Khaled Bahah's convoy also came under fire after a meeting with a Huthi representative at the residence of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, Sakkaf said.
The Huthis are believed to have been behind the kidnapping of the chief of staff to President Hadi on Saturday.
The kidnapping happened amid talks about the country's new constitution, which had to be stopped as a result.
The group, which formed originally to protect followers of Zaydi Muslims, seized Sanaa in September and advanced into central and western parts of the country where more Sunnis live.
Huthi critics claim they are a proxy for Iran, while the rebels deny this charge. Yemen is home to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which took credit for the recent attack against Charlie Hebdo in Paris. They have also clashed with the Huthis.
The government had yet to release a death toll from Monday's fighting, but Nasir Ba'um, Yemen's deputy health minister told one local news outlet that at least nine people had been killed. That number is likely to rise as more casualties are reported.
This is a developing story. Please check back here and at BuzzFeed News on Twitter for updates.