Yemen crisis
Southern People's Resistance militants loyal to Yemen's President Hadi move a tank from the al-Anad air base in the country's southern province of LahejReuters

Houthi rebels have advanced on the southern city of Aden as Yemen's president fled the country by boat.

AFP reported Wednesday (25 March) that Aden airport had stopped services as the Houthis advanced from the north, hours after most diplomats left the city.

Meanwhile sources in Yemen told AP that President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi had fled the country in two boats from the port of Aden.

It is the second time in less than a month that Hadi – who has a $100,000 (£67,000) bounty on his head by Houthi rebels – has been forced to flee a Yemeni city.

Last month he managed to escape house arrest in Sana'a and relocate to Aden.

The Houthis, backed by Iran, have been advancing south from their base in the Yemeni capital for a week, taking an important military base to the north of the city on Wednesday.

The advance has prompted Saudi Arabia to mass troops on its porous border with Yemen, and the Arab League will meet Thursday to discuss a regional response.

It has also prompted scenes of chaos in Aden, residents said Wednesday, as diplomatic missions fled and residents of the largely Sunni city prepared for a Houthi invasion.

The Houthis have spread fast from their traditional tribesland in northern Yemen, taking Sana'a in January this year.