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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

Five army recruits killed in ISIL-claimed bomb attack in Aden

It comes amid reports that government loyalists and Iran-backed Houthis have clashed on several fronts in Yemen despite an ongoing truce which started on Monday.
Yemenis stand at the site where a bomb attack killed five army recruits in the southern city of Aden on April 12, 2016. Saleh Al Obeidi / AFP
Yemenis stand at the site where a bomb attack killed five army recruits in the southern city of Aden on April 12, 2016. Saleh Al Obeidi / AFP

ADEN // Five Yemeni army recruits were killed in an ISIL-claimed bomb attack on Tuesday, as clashes broke out on several fronts on the second day of a UN-brokered truce.

Seven other recruits were injured in the Aden attack, which struck the city’s northern Al Sheikh Othman district early in the morning.

The recruits were targeted as they waited for buses to take them east to Al Soban military camp, Brigadier Shalal Shaei, the director of Aden’s police, told The National.

Army recruits usually wait at the same spot, near the Suzuki roundabout, every day.

The ISIL-affiliated Amaq News Agency said the extremist group was responsible for the bombing.

Some news reports said the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber, but Brig Shaei said the blast was caused by an explosive device that was remotely detonated.

Elsewhere, forces loyal to president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi fought with the Iran-backed Houthis in the province of Marib, as well as in Nihm, north-east of the rebel-held capital, Sanaa.

The rebels and their allies – renegade soldiers loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh – advanced overnight from Monday to Tuesday in the Sarwah area of Marib, wresting control of two hills, a military official said.

Seven soldiers have been killed and 15 others wounded in Sarwah since the truce entered into force at on Monday, the official said.

A soldier was also killed and nine others wounded in a rebel attack on an army base near the southern city of Baihan which borders Marib province.

But the United Nations, which is sponsoring next week’s peace talks in Kuwait, did not seem to be discouraged by violations of the truce.

“The cessation of hostilities seems to be largely holding,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Monday, although he noted that there were “some pockets of violence”.

Also on Monday, the Saudi-led coalition of Arab states, which launched a military campaign against the rebels and their allies last March, described violations as “minor”.

Tuesday’s attack in Aden came as Yemen’s security and armed forces are implementing plans to liberate Aden and Lahj provinces from ISIL and Al Qaeda fighters.

The extremists have taken advantage of the ongoing fighting in Yemen to expand their reach in the country’s south.

Over the past two months, however, Saudi-led air strikes have begun to target Al Qaeda fighters in various provinces. And last month Yemeni forces, backed by UAE troops, drove Al Qaeda fighters from key areas of Aden, including Al Mansoura district, where the extremists had held the prison, main market and other public institutions for months.

On Tuesday, Brig Shaei visited Al Mansoura to assess the progress being made.

“The procedures used to keep Al Mansoura safe have been successful and we will try to reopen the police station in the district soon,” he said.

foreign.desk@thenational.ae

* With additional reporting by Agence France-Presse