At least 21 Yemeni Shiite rebels were killed Friday when residents in a tribal southern region opened fire at their vehicles, a local official and witnesses told AFP.
The Huthi rebels, who are also facing Saudi-led air strikes, were travelling in three vehicles from Lahj province towards Aden, the southern stronghold of embattled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, when they were ambushed.
The attack took place just 15 kilometres (about nine miles) north of Aden, where tensions were high on Friday as the rebels clashed with the "popular committees" -- an anti-Huthi militia controlling parts of the city, security officials and residents said.
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At least eight people were killed in clashes around Aden airport, where the Shiite militiamen were deployed on the runway, security and medical sources said.
The popular committees used rocks and tree branches to block entrances to some Aden neighbourhoods, as shops remained shut for the second day in a row, after Arab coalition air strikes began on Thursday, witnesses said.
Meanwhile, dozens of youths looted arms depots abandoned by troops in the Khormaksar neighbourhood, security officials told AFP.
In another southern province, Abyan, four Huthi-allied soldiers were killed when local gunmen fired rocket propelled grenades at their two vehicles, as they also travelled towards Aden, military officials said.