Yemen’s Prime Minster Mohammad Basindawa resigns

Yemen’s Prime Minster Mohammad Basindawa   resigns

(Al Arabiya News)-Yemen’s Prime Minster Mohammad Basindawa submitted his resignation, an Al Arabiya correspondent reported, as clashes between Shiite Houthi rebels and government forces continued for a fourth day in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.

The resignation came after reports of Houthi rebels seizing the government headquarters in Sanaa.

Residents reported hearing heavy shelling throughout Saturday night in an area of the capital near the headquarters of the first armored division camp and close to Iman University, Reuters news agency said.

Fighting escalated on Thursday following weeks of clashes between rebels and Yemeni forces, posing the biggest challenge to a democratic transition backed by the U.N.

U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar announced late on Saturday that an agreement was reached between the warring sides, following two-day talks with Houthi leader Abdulmalek al-Houthi.

Despite the agreement, one Houthi rebel leader told Reuters they had increased shelling of the army division camp driving soldiers out.

“We controlled a military unit east of the first armored division …. and we continued heavy shelling of the division headquarters and the nearby Iman University in all directions,” Ali al-Emad told the news agency.

The Yemeni Higher Security Committee imposed a curfew on Saturday in four areas of the capital between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., shutting down schools as rebels said they had taken control of the state television building.

Nevertheless, President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi reiterated on Saturday his support for the U.N.-brokered deal while the Houthis said their representatives would reach the capital on Sunday to sign it.

Insecurity and political turmoil have grown since Saleh was ousted by Arab Spring protests. The Houthi insurrection is one of several threats to the stability of Yemen, which borders oil exporter Saudi Arabia and is struggling with a secessionist movement in the south and a spreading al Qaeda insurgency.

The Houthis, who belong to the Zaydi sect of Shiite Islam, have been struggling for a decade against the Sunni-dominated government for more territory and autonomy in the north.

In recent weeks, Houthi protesters have blocked the main road to Sanaa’s airport and held sit-ins at ministries. They have called for the government to step down, and for the restoration of subsidies cut by the state in July as part of economic reforms.