Fighters backing Yemen’s exiled government captured a key city on the road to the port city of Aden, officials said Tuesday, the pro-government forces’ first significant victory since a Saudi-led coalition began targeting Shiite rebels in airstrikes.

The fighters took Dhale, home to the command center of the 33rd Armored Brigade, the country’s largest army unit that had been loyal to former Yemeni leader Ali Abdullah Saleh. Saleh has backed the rebels, known as Houthis, in their power grab across Yemen that began last September.

Government-allied fighters seized tanks, rocket launchers and ammunition caches from the base at Dhale, some 75 miles from Aden, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters. […]