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Yemeni Separatists Seize Much of Aden, Security Officials Say

Members of UAE-backed southern Yemeni separatist forces patrol a road during clashes with government forces in Aden, Yemen, Aug. 10, 2019.

Yemeni separatists have seized control of much of the city of Aden, inflicting a blow to the Saudi-led coalition that is trying to dismantle the country's Iran-aligned Houthi movement.

Yemeni security officials said Saturday that the separatists also had taken control of the presidential palace, a development confirmed by a spokesman from the Security Belt force, which is dominated by the separatists.

Officials said all military camps in the southern port city also had been seized.

The development complicated U.N. efforts to end the four-year war, which has killed tens of thousands of people and forced the poorest residents to the brink of famine.

The latest fighting erupted Wednesday when separatists tried to break into the presidential palace after Hani Bin Braik, an ex-cabinet minister and deputy head of the so-called Southern Transitional Council, called on forces to "topple" President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi's government.

Braik accused the president and his forces of being loyal to the Yemeni branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which the United Arab Emirates and some other countries consider a terrorist group.

The internationally recognized Yemeni government has accused Braik of provocations and has called on the Saudi and UAE governments to force the separatists to stop their attacks.

Aden is the seat of power for Hadi, who has been residing in Saudi Arabia since the rebels took over the capital of Sanaa in 2014.