Yemeni PM quits, Houthi rebels advance in Sanaa despite accord

SANAA - Yemen's prime minister submitted his resignation to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Sunday amid chaos over reported advances by Shi'ite Muslim Houthi rebels on some military buildings and government offices in the capital.

The move by Mohammed Salem Basindwa added to the confusion in Sanaa, where Houthi rebels were due to sign a deal, brokered by UN special envoy Jamal Benomar, intended to end the fighting and pave the way for a new government within two weeks.

Sanaa residents said the Houthis had taken over several government sites including the prime minister's buildings, an army command centre and the state television compound after security forces withdrew - although TV broadcasts continued.

The fighting in Sanaa threatens a UN-backed transition to democracy that began after veteran President Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced to step down in 2012 after months of protests against his 30 years in office.

The Houthis, who stayed out of Basindwa's government, have pressed for a new administration. Last month, they began a wave of demonstrations in Sanaa to protest against a raise in fuel prices, a move that had been taken to curb the rising budget deficit. The protests later escalated into armed clashes.
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