SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi arrived in the southern port city of Aden Tuesday following nearly six months of exile in Saudi Arabia, airport officials and a statement from his office said.
Hadi, who arrived in Aden under tight security, fled Yemen by sea in March as Shiite Houthi rebels and their allies moved on his last refuge in the south. Hours later, a Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes aimed at pushing back the Houthis. The Houthis captured the country's capital, Sanaa, last September and it remains in their control.
Yemen has been torn by a ferocious war pitting the Houthis and forces fighting for former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against Hadi loyalists, as well as southern separatists, local militias and Sunni extremists.
An official at Hadi's office said he would stay no less than two days, adding that he is expected to meet with the Cabinet, local authorities, and military and security leadership.
"The return of his excellency the president to Aden comes after an absence that has lasted for six months amid the brutal aggression which has been carried out by the militias loyal to the Houthis and Saleh on the city of Aden," the president's office said in a statement. Several newly-appointed ministers accompanied him, according to the statement.
Security officials say Aden's airport remains under heavy security, with armored vehicles surrounding the structure and checkpoints manned by Emirati and Yemeni troops.
Officials in Hadi's office said the president will leave to the United States in the next few days to attend the United Nations General Assembly meetings.
Yemen's Cabinet arrived in Aden last week after months of self-imposed exile. Pro-government troops routed the rebels in Aden earlier this summer and have since made a push north, capturing several key southern areas.
Hadi's arrival comes as troops supporting him are struggling to advance from the key battleground of Marib to the rebel-held capital some 165 kilometers (103 miles) to their west.
Meanwhile, independent security officials said a Saudi-led coalition airstrike hit a hotel housing Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen's capital Sanaa, killing at least 25 people.
The officials said at least 45 others were injured in the strike at the Sama Hotel in eastern Sanaa. Houthis prevented journalists from accessing the scene.
Coalition planes launched dozens of strikes Tuesday aiming at Houthi positions, focusing on the provinces of Taiz and Marib.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.