Yemen’s Shiite rebels and their allies fought their way through the commercial center of Aden on Thursday and seized the presidential palace on a strategic hilltop in this southern coastal city, security officials said.

The capture was a major blow to the Saudi-led coalition, which has been carrying out airstrikes for a week now across Yemen, including in the capital, Sanaa, in a campaign meant to halt the advance of the Iran-backed rebels known as Houthis.

The Maasheeq palace in Aden – a cluster of colonial-era villas perched atop a rocky hill that juts into the Arabian Sea – was President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s last seat of power before he fled to Saudi Arabia last month in the face of the Houthi advance. He had earlier fled to Aden from rebel-held Sanaa.

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