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07 December 2023

Top Yemen officials survive bombing

Fighters loyal to Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi check the destroyed vehicle of the newly appointed Aden Governor Aidarus Al Zubaidi after he was targeted alongside two other senior south Yemeni officials in a bomb attack in the Inma district, north of Aden, on January 4, 2016. (AFP)


Three senior south Yemeni officials survived a car bombing that targeted their convoy in the port city of Aden on Tuesday and killed one of their guards, security sources said.

Eight other guards were wounded when the bomb-laden vehicle exploded in the Inmaa district, the sources told AFP.

Medics confirmed the toll.

Newly appointed Aden Governor Aidarus Al Zubaidi, city police chief General Shallal Ali Shayae and the governor of neighbouring Lahj province, Naser Al Khubaji, were travelling in the convoy.

They were returning from a visit to a camp of UAE troops taking part in the Saudi-led coalition, the sources said.

Aidarus was appointed in December after his predecessor, Jaafar Saad, was killed in an Aden bombing.

The assassination attempt comes after security forces arrested a local Al Qaeda leader during a sweep targeting jihadists in the southern city, security officials said.

The capture of Mohammed Al Lahji, the group's chief in the Tawahi district, along with two of his bodyguards, sparked a gunfight overnight in which a policeman was wounded, they said.

The government imposed a one-month night-time curfew in Aden on Monday, a day after clashes blamed on jihadists killed at least 22 people, including 10 members of the security forces.

An official at the Aden governor's office said that "homes in Tawahi and Mualla districts are being searched one by one to hunt down terrorists".

Business came to a near halt in Aden as the curfew took effect, with shops closed and streets empty, residents and security officials said.

Pro-government forces trained by a Saudi-led coalition supporting President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi set up checkpoints across the city, they added.

Sunday's clashes erupted when Hadi loyalists came up against resistance while trying to secure Aden's port, security sources said.

Pro-Hadi forces eventually managed to take control of the facility after hours of fighting.

The extremists are occupying government buildings and are frequently seen patrolling several districts of the city.

"We will work on forcing the armed groups out of government buildings. We will cleanse all neighbourhoods from terrorists," Shayae told reporters late Monday.

Loyalists have regained control of Aden and four other southern provinces since July.

Peace talks held in Switzerland last month ended without any breakthrough after a ceasefire aimed at calming tensions was widely violated.

Nearly 6,000 people have been killed since March, according to UN figures. At least 2,795 of them are civilians.