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Yemen soldiers killed in drone attack by rebel Houthis

By Sheetal Sukhija, Indiana State News
12 Jan 2019, 01:46 GMT+10

ADEN, Yemen - A strategic attack targeted the Saudi Arabia-led coalition that has been backing the Yemeni government in the long and brutal war in the country, and left six soldiers dead.

The attack targeted the al-Anad government base in the Lahj province and involved a drone that exploded above a podium where high-ranking officers and Yemeni government officials were watching a military parade.

The drone attack left several people injured and killed six soldiers at the military base, which is about 60 kms north of the second city of Aden.

Several media channels broadcast footage of the incident, in which, a drone is seen to be approaching the parade ground at high speed and at low altitude.

As soon as it reaches the covered VIP podium, the drone explodes.

A report in the Associated Press quoted a local journalist Nabil al-Qaiti as saying, "It was a very strong explosion and we could feel the pressure. The drone was packed with explosives."

Following the attack, a Houthi-operated TV channel claimed the attack and said that the rebels had targeted personnel from the Saudi-led coalition.

Further, reports quoted medics at the Ibn Khaldoun hospital in Houta city as saying that the attack had injured the army deputy chief of staff Gen Saleh al-Zindani and Lahj governor Ahmed al-Turki.

A total of 12 people were believed to have been injured in the attack.

Later, officials added that the intelligence chief Brig-Gen Mohammed Saleh Tamah, senior army commander Fadel Hasan and the Chief of staff Gen Abdullah al-Nakhi were also said to have suffered injuries in the attack.

A report on the attack in the Al-Masirah TV quoted a Houthi military source as saying that the attack targeted "invaders and mercenaries at Al-Anad."

The rebels often refer to the coalition personnel with those words.

The source was also quoted as saying that the attack was carried out after "careful monitoring of gatherings and movements" at the base.

In a subsequent statement, the Houthi military spokesman Gen Yehia Sari announced that a new kind of drone had been used in the attack.

Gen Sari said in a statement that the Qasef-2K was designed to blow up about 20m (65ft) off the ground, sending shrapnel towards a target.

According to a statement released on Saudi Arabian TV channels, the drone was Iranian made, even though Iran has denied supplying weapons to the rebels.

The attack on Thursday provoked a stern response by the Yemeni government.

The Yemeni Information Minister Moammar al-Eryani took to Twitter and warned that "the crime of targeting the base will not go unanswered."

He said that the attack showed the Houthis did "not believe in the language of peace" and "only understand the language of weapons."

Following the attack, experts warned that the attack by Houthis threatened to derail UN peace efforts, which could impact the delivery of aid supplies.

Last month, the UN peace efforts led to both sides reaching a ceasefire agreement around the lifeline Red Sea port of Hudaydah.

The ongoing war in Yemen, that escalated in early 2015, has led to the death of at least 6,800 civilians and has left 10,700 others injured in the fighting.

According to the UN, thousands more civilians have died from preventable causes, including malnutrition, disease and poor health.

After the Houthis seized control of much of the west of the country, the Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was forced to flee abroad.

Hadi then sought help from Saudi Arabia, which formed a coalition involving the U.A.E. and seven other Arab states that together intervened in an attempt to restore the government.

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