Yemeni forces repelled an attempt by the UAE-backed security forces to storm the presidential palace in the interim capital of Aden, while two Yemeni officials accused Abu Dhabi of backing what they called a coup attempt.
Clashes erupted near the presidential palace in the central Crater area of Aden on Wednesday between security forces of the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council and brigades of presidential protection from President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi's government, killing and wounding both sides.
The clashes began after Hani Ben Brik, vice president of the Southern Transitional Council, called on his troops to storm the Maasheq Palace, accusing President Hadi and his cabinet members of supporting Islah.
His call to storm the presidential palace came in the wake of the Houthi shelling which targeted days before the evacuation camp in Aden, which killed about 40 security belt troops, including military commander Munir al-Yafi, and the attack by the Islamic State on the police station Sheikh Osman and killed 13 members Security.
The clashes began in the Crater area in conjunction with the funeral of al-Yafi, and the presidential protection forces responded to the mobilization of the Southern Council forces by deploying tanks in the vicinity of the palace.
Al Jazeera sources said that the dead and wounded were killed in the clashes, while witnesses reported that the security belt gunmen and tribesmen tried to storm the palace, but the Presidential Protection Forces confronted them, including the overflights of the aircraft of the Saudi-Emirati coalition.
A security source told Agence France-Presse that two members of the security belt were killed, while the Associated Press quoted officials and witnesses that a member of the presidential guard was killed and four wounded, including two civilians.
Two days before the clashes, the Yemeni prime minister, members of his government and other officials left the presidential palace, the agency said.
Maasheq Palace is the official seat of the legitimate Yemeni government in Aden, and was targeted by forces loyal to the Southern Transitional Council last year.
Try a coup
While the UAE has called on the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash to calm in Aden, the Associated Press quoted a Yemeni government official as saying that the call to storm the presidential palace and expel the government from a coup attempt backed by the UAE.
The source added that what happened was a coup of armed militias clearly supported by the UAE and not unlike the coup of the Houthis in Sanaa.
The media adviser to the Yemeni embassy in Riyadh, Anis Mansour, said the UAE is behind fueling the fighting in the province of Aden.
In an earlier interview with Al Jazeera, Mansour accused the UAE of targeting the Yemeni community fabric to achieve its agenda.
For his part, Yemeni Interior Minister Ahmed al-Maissari said that the statement made by Hani Ben Brik, Vice President of the Southern Transitional Council, on the storming of the presidential palace is a declaration of war on legitimacy and aims to provoke strife and serve the Houthis.
He said the government had exercised patience and wisdom to maintain stability in the city of Aden.
The leadership of the Saudi-UAE alliance described in a statement developments in Aden as dangerous and said it rejected any measures that harm the security and stability of the city.
Saudi-Emirati coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki said the coalition leadership would not accept tampering with the interests of the Yemeni people.
He called on all parties and components of Yemen to arbitrate reason and the primacy of national interest, and work with the legitimate government of Yemen to overcome these exceptional circumstances and the critical stage and its implications, he said.
In turn, Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al Jaber warned in a tweet on Twitter that the only beneficiary of what is happening in Aden are "terrorist Houthi militias backed by Iran and terrorist organizations."
On the international front, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric quoted UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths as saying he was concerned about the military escalation in Aden.
Dujarric said Griffiths stressed that the escalation of violence would contribute to instability and suffering in Aden and would deepen political and social divisions in Yemen.
In the same vein, British Ambassador to Yemen Michael Aaron called on all parties in Aden to calm down. It was concerned about recent developments.
The ambassador condemned the targeting of the evacuation camp a few days ago, and said in a tweet on Twitter that it is unacceptable to use this attack to displace the northerners, whom he described as simple, and the start of armed conflicts between southern forces and the legitimate government.