Huthi rebels kill 6 | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 11, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, January 11, 2019

DRONE ATTACK ON BIGGEST YEMEN AIRBASE

Huthi rebels kill 6

A rebel drone hit Yemen's largest air base yesterday, killing six loyalist soldiers during a military parade in an attack which threatens to hamper UN-led peace efforts.

At talks in Sweden last month, the UN brokered several agreements between Huthi rebels and the Saudi-backed government seen as the best chance of ending nearly four years of devastating conflict.

The Shia Huthi rebels said they carried out the strike on Al-Anad air base, in government-held Lahij province some 60 kilometres (40 miles) north of Yemen's second city Aden.

At least 12 people were wounded, including top commanders, according to medics at Ibn Khaldoun hospital in the provincial capital Huta.

Footage of the attack showed a drone exploding over a podium around which dozens of military personnel were standing. Soldiers scrambled to carry wounded comrades to military vehicles, while a man holding a camera bled on the ground.

An AFP correspondent at the scene said journalists were among the wounded.

Originally built by the then Soviet Union during the Cold War, Al-Anad served as the headquarters for US troops overseeing a long-running drone war against Al-Qaeda until March 2014, when it was overrun by the Huthis.

Government forces recaptured it in August 2015 as they recovered territory from the rebels with support from a Saudi-led military coalition.

Yemen's deputy chief of staff Saleh al-Zandani, intelligence Brigadier General Saleh Tamah and senior army commander Fadel Hasan were among the wounded, along with Lahij governor Ahmad Abdullah al-Turki, doctors at Ibn Khaldoun hospital told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Chief of staff General Abdullah al-Nakhi was also at the base at the time of the attack, a pro-government official said. He was not named among the casualties.

The attack came one day after UN envoy Martin Griffiths warned "substantial progress" was needed on the ground before full-blown negotiations could be launched on ending the civil war.

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