Militiamen seized the main security directorate and strategic mountaintop buildings from the Houthis in Dalea, a bastion of a secessionist movement in Yemen's formerly independent south, much of which has been destroyed in more than two months of fighting.

Ten soldiers loyal to the Houthis and three southern militiamen were killed, fighters and residents said.

In the southern city of Taiz, Houthi fighters pushed back tribal and Islamist militiamen amid heavy street combat, and Arab air raids hit a military base loyal to Houthis in the capital Sanaa on Monday.

A Saudi-led coalition has been bombing the Iran-allied Houthis for months and supporting Yemeni fighters opposing the groups in battle lines drawn across the country.

Yemen's exiled government in Saudi Arabia led by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has demanded the Houthis recognise its authority and withdraw from Yemen's main cities two points demanded by a UN Security Council resolution last month.

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