Rebels battled their way into the heart of Yemen's main southern city Aden where fighting raged Thursday in the former stronghold of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who has fled overseas.
The advance comes despite a week of Saudi-led air strikes aimed at preventing the fall of Hadi, who has taken refuge in Riyadh.
The Iran-backed Huthi rebels and allied army units loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh were advancing on the presidential palace after seizing the key district of Khor Maksar, home to several foreign consulates and UN offices, residents said.
At least 19 people were killed on Wednesday in clashes pitting the rebels against armed residents and local militia, officials said. Hadi fled to the southern city from the rebel-held capital in February.
But he went into hiding last week as the rebels advanced on his last remaining bastion and later resurfaced in the Saudi capital. His aides have said he has no immediate plan to return to Aden.