World

Officials: After overrunning capital, Yemen's Shiite rebels close in on key Red Sea city

  • Yemeni mourners carry the coffin of a soldier who was killed Thursday when a suicide car bomber rammed a security outpost on the outskirts of the port city of Mukalla, during his funeral, in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. Two suicide bombers struck in Yemen on Thursday — one targeting a gathering of Shiite rebels in Sanaa, the country's capital and the other hitting a military outpost in Mukalla in the south — in attacks that killed nearly 70 people, officials said. The bombings underscored Yemen's highly volatile situation following last month's takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by the Shiite Houthi rebels whose blitz stunned the impoverished Arab nation on the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

    Yemeni mourners carry the coffin of a soldier who was killed Thursday when a suicide car bomber rammed a security outpost on the outskirts of the port city of Mukalla, during his funeral, in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. Two suicide bombers struck in Yemen on Thursday — one targeting a gathering of Shiite rebels in Sanaa, the country's capital and the other hitting a military outpost in Mukalla in the south — in attacks that killed nearly 70 people, officials said. The bombings underscored Yemen's highly volatile situation following last month's takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by the Shiite Houthi rebels whose blitz stunned the impoverished Arab nation on the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Yemeni mourners carry the coffin of a soldier who was killed Thursday when a suicide car bomber rammed a security outpost on the outskirts of the port city of Mukalla, during his funeral, in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. Two suicide bombers struck in Yemen on Thursday — one targeting a gathering of Shiite rebels in Sanaa, the country's capital and the other hitting a military outpost in Mukalla in the south — in attacks that killed nearly 70 people, officials said. Arabic writing on coffin reads in part, "Martyr of country and duty, Hassen Ali Mohammed Jassar, killed on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, in Hadramout province." (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

    Yemeni mourners carry the coffin of a soldier who was killed Thursday when a suicide car bomber rammed a security outpost on the outskirts of the port city of Mukalla, during his funeral, in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. Two suicide bombers struck in Yemen on Thursday — one targeting a gathering of Shiite rebels in Sanaa, the country's capital and the other hitting a military outpost in Mukalla in the south — in attacks that killed nearly 70 people, officials said. Arabic writing on coffin reads in part, "Martyr of country and duty, Hassen Ali Mohammed Jassar, killed on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, in Hadramout province." (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Yemeni mourners bury a soldier who was killed Thursday when a suicide car bomber rammed a security outpost on the outskirts of the port city of Mukalla, during his funeral, in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. Two suicide bombers struck in Yemen on Thursday — one targeting a gathering of Shiite rebels in Sanaa, the country's capital and the other hitting a military outpost in Mukalla in the south — in attacks that killed nearly 70 people, officials said. The bombings underscored Yemen's highly volatile situation following last month's takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by the Shiite Houthi rebels whose blitz stunned the impoverished Arab nation on the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

    Yemeni mourners bury a soldier who was killed Thursday when a suicide car bomber rammed a security outpost on the outskirts of the port city of Mukalla, during his funeral, in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. Two suicide bombers struck in Yemen on Thursday — one targeting a gathering of Shiite rebels in Sanaa, the country's capital and the other hitting a military outpost in Mukalla in the south — in attacks that killed nearly 70 people, officials said. The bombings underscored Yemen's highly volatile situation following last month's takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by the Shiite Houthi rebels whose blitz stunned the impoverished Arab nation on the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

Yemeni security and military official say the Shiite rebels who overran the capital, Sanaa, are now closing in and besieging a key Red Sea city and its airport.

The officials say the Houthis' push to capture Hodeida, a vital port on Yemen's western Red Sea coast shows they plan to capture as much territory as possible after seizing Sanaa last month.

The Houthis' blitz is the latest crisis that has gripped restive Yemen. The rebels — who subscribe to the Shiite Zaydi sect and who are widely suspected to be supported by Shiite powerhouse Iran — took full control of the provinces of Sadda and Omran, north of Sanaa, in recent weeks.

The officials spoke on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to media.