Shiite rebels say ready to evacuate key Yemeni city

A Yemeni soldier mans a checkpoint on a road leading to the city of Amran, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of the capital Sanaa, on July 9, 2014 (AFP Photo/Mohammed Huwais)

Sanaa (AFP) - Shiite rebels are to withdraw from a key city they seized in an advance towards Yemen's capital and an army unit will now move into Amran, a spokesman said Saturday.

Amran, 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Sanaa, has seen fierce fighting since February as Huthi rebels known as Ansarullah advanced from their mountain strongholds towards the capital.

"Our men will withdraw from Amran as soon as an army unit moves in," rebel spokesman Mohammed Abdessalam said, adding that the decision to pull back came in a deal struck with the defence ministry.