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Newly Trained Yemeni Forces Rout al-Qaida from Southern City

FILE - Smoke rises from a government building in al-Houta, the provincial capital of Yemen's southern Lahej province, March 21, 2015. Officials say the city is now back under government control after troops trained by the Saudi-led coalition routed al-Qaida militants.

Yemeni military officials say troops trained by the Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen's Shi'ite rebels have routed al-Qaida militants from a city in the country's south.

The officials say that the city of Houta, the capital of the province of Lahj, is now under government control.

The coalition-trained troops, which are loyal to Yemen's internationally recognized government, were based in the southern al-Anad base from where they launched the fight to retake Houta.

The officials said the militants fled on Friday from Houta to nearby towns and farmland.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they aren't authorized to speak to journalists.

The coalition launched an air campaign against Shiite Houthi rebels in March last year to reinstate Yemen's government after the Houthis expelled it from the capital, Sana'a.