Smoke billows behind a building in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on December 3, 2017, during clashes between Huthi rebels and supporters of Yemeni ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh. (AFP Photo)
SANAA, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- A fire ripped through the Iranian embassy in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Sunday during clashes between the Houthis and loyalists of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a Xinhua reporter on the scene witnessed.
The fire broke out after the embassy was attacked by heavy weapons, but it remained unknown who were responsible for the incident.
A security official said about 20 staff members of the embassy were trapped inside the building.
The embassy is located near the presidential palace and is close to the residence of a son of Saleh in southwestern Sanaa.
More than 100 dead bodies could be seen lying on the streets leading to the diplomatic complex in the Hadda area.
An official from the Houthi-controlled Interior Ministry told Xinhua that at least 200 militants from both warring sides had been killed and more others were wounded in the clashes near the Iranian embassy.
The embassy is located near the highlands controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, where the Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes for five times on Saturday midnight.
The Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV reported late Saturday that the coalition attacked the highlands in support of the forces loyal to Saleh, who were fighting the Houthis in Sanaa.
The new change in the course of the Yemeni conflict came after Saleh and his supporters turned their weapons against the Houthi group, who had been an ally of Saleh in the battle against the Saudi-led coalition that supports the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Saleh has voiced his readiness to hold talks with the coalition's leaders to reach a compromise.
Houthi leader Abdul-Malek al-Houthi accused Saleh of "betrayal," vowing to keep fighting against the Saudi-led coalition.
The coalition later welcomed Saleh's new stance and offered to provide support to fight the Houthi rebels, according to Al-Arabiya.
Sunday's clashes had been raging on for hours after the Houthis claimed to have fired a long-range winged cruise missile towards the Barakah nuclear reactor in Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to a statement by the Houthi-controlled Saba news agency.
"The missile hit the target accurately in Abu Dhabi," a Houthi military officer was quoted as saying.
But the UAE on Sunday denied the claims by the Houthis, while reassuring its citizens that the country is safe.
The UAE National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) said in a statement that the UAE's air defense system "is capable of dealing with any threats."