SANAA, Yemen — Militiamen loyal to Yemen’s exiled president besieged an air base Saturday once crucial to the U.S. drone program targeting al-Qaida militants, trying to dislodge the Shiite rebels holding the complex, a spokesman said.

Qa’ed Nasser, a spokesman for the pro-Hadi militia, said his fighters launched several attacks on the Al-Annad air base amid airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition targeting the rebels, known as Houthis. He said that the Houthis have been forced to abandon parts of the base.

Houthi rebels declined to comment on the fighting at the base, 35 miles from Aden, the port city where President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi had established a temporary capital before fleeing the country.