SANA, Clashes erupted for a second straight day on Thursday in Yemen's southern port city of Aden between Saudi-backed government troops and secessionists seeking independence for southern Yemen, resulting in the death of at least one civilian.
The fighting threatens to open a separate front in Yemen's years-long civil war and has exposed cracks in a Saudi-led military alliance, which has been fighting Iran-linked Houthi rebels in Yemen for more than four years.
It could also cause tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which is part of the Saudi-led alliance but reportedly backs the secessionist movement.
Thursday's battles pitted presidential guards against the so-called Security Belt forces. The fighting was raging near Aden's central bank and the Mashiq presidential palace, which houses the government's offices, security sources and witnesses said.
One civilian was killed and others injured in the clashes, which were still underway as of Thursday afternoon, a security official said on condition of anonymity. At least five people were killed and 13 others injured in Wednesday's violence, security sources said.
Gravely concerned by the escalation of violence between southern and Yemeni Government forces in Aden tonight, British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said on Twitter late on Thurdsay.
The UK calls on all parties to cease hostilities and engage urgently in talks to work through grievances. The Yemeni people have suffered enough, he added.
His comments were echoed by the US State Department, which called on all parties to refrain from escalation and further bloodshed, and to resolve their differences through dialogue.
The Security Belt forces are affiliated with the self-styled Southern Transitional Council, a political body pushing for the secession of southern Yemen from the north. On Wednesday, a senior leader in the council called on its loyalists to oust the Saudi-backed government.
The Saudi-led alliance condemned the fighting and said it plays into the hands of the Iran-allied rebels.
Yemen, one of the Arab world's poorest countries, has been locked in a devastating power struggle between the government and Houthi rebels since late 2014. Houthis control the capital Sana'a while the Saudi-backed government is based in Aden.
UN efforts have failed to resolve Yemen's conflict, which has resulted in the world's worst humanitarian crisis and thousands of civilian deaths.
Source: NAM News Network