Al-Qaida militants stormed a prison in southern Yemen on Thursday, freeing 300 inmates as fighting continued in other parts of the country between Shi’ite Houthi rebels and pro-government forces.

Security officials said Khalid Batarfi, a prominent figure with al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, was among those freed from the prison in al-Mukalla.

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Separately, the official Saudi Press Agency reported a Saudi border guard was killed after coming under fire from Yemeni territory. The killing marks the first known Saudi casualty since the country launched an operation against the Shi’ite rebels a week ago.

Meanwhile, Houthi rebels fought into the center of Aden, the port city that is the last remaining stronghold of those backing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

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Hadi himself fled Aden a week ago as the Houthis pushed south in an offensive that brought Saudi Arabia and other allies to launch a campaign of airstrikes to try to halt the advance.

There were conflicting reports that rebel forces had captured the presidential palace in Aden. While one Yemeni government official told Reuters that no ground forces had landed in Aden.

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The capture would be a major blow to the Saudi-led coalition.

Fighting continued late Thursday as Hadi’s forces and loyalists were holding on to some scattered parts of Aden.


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