Yemen army deploys tanks around presidential palace
The move came as clashes rage between the two sides in the vicinity of the headquarters of the Sixth Military Zone Command.

The Yemeni army has deployed tanks around the presidential palace in Sanaa amid clashes between the government troops and Shiite Houthi militants in the capital, eyewitnesses said.

The move came as clashes rage between the two sides in the vicinity of the headquarters of the Sixth Military Zone Command, which is a few kilometers away from the residence of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi in Sanaa.

Eyewitnesses said that at least 15 Houthi militants were killed in an ambush by the army against the Houthi gunmen trying to seize the command headquarters.

Clashes raged again on Sunday in Sanaa between government army and Houthi militants after a few hours of lull with strong explosions being heard in the city.

An Anadolu Agency correspondent reported that clashes re-erupted between the two sides on Al-Khamseen Street in northern Sanaa.

Plumes of smoke are towering over the area amid fierce fighting between the two sides, the AA reporter said.

The clashes came hours before the signing of a deal announced by U.N. envoy toYemenJamal Benomar to end the crisisthat has paralyzed the country for weeks.

Benomarsaid Saturday thatYemeni parties had reached a deal to end the confrontation and it would be signed on Sunday. He did not, however, give further details about the agreement.

On Saturday,Yemen's higher security committee imposed a nighttime curfew in some of the neighborhoods of northern Sanaa.

The committee cited what it described as "security situation developments" and takeover by Shiite Houthi militants of the headquarters of theYemeni state television in the capital for its decision.

It said in a statement that the curfew would start from 9:00pm local time (18:00 GMT) and come to an end at 6:00am local time (03:00 GMT) every day from Saturday.

TheHouthishave been staging mass protests since mid-August to demand the dismissal of Prime Minister Mohamed Basindawa's government and the reversal of a recent government decision to slash fuel subsidies.

Demonstrations turned deadly earlier this month after protesters camped outside government buildings and blocked key roads in the capital to press their demands. Since then,army troops and Shiite Houthi militants have engaged in deadly fighting in several parts of the capital.

Hadi had already offered to sack the government, inviting theHouthisto take part in the formation of a unity government. He also offered to reduce fuel prices.

According to Hadi's proposal, however, the president would retain the right to directly appoint the ministers of "strategic" government portfolios (interior, defense and foreign affairs).

TheHouthis, for their part, rejected Hadi's offer and vowed to escalate protests further.

Yemenhas been dogged by unrest since a popular uprising that began in 2011 ousted longstanding president Ali Abdullah Saleh one year later.

Last Modified: 2014-09-22 08:23:37
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