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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Two killed as suicide bomber targets checkpoint in Aden

Governor tells pro-government resistance forces to increase security after multiple attacks this month.
Residents of Aden look at the remains of a suicide bomber who struck at a checkpoint of the Southern Resistance in Yemen’s southern port city on October 26, 2015. Saleh Al Obeidi / AFP
Residents of Aden look at the remains of a suicide bomber who struck at a checkpoint of the Southern Resistance in Yemen’s southern port city on October 26, 2015. Saleh Al Obeidi / AFP

ADEN // A suicide bomber struck a checkpoint in central Aden on Monday, killing two members of the Southern Resistance and injuring several others.

The raid was the first such attack in the city since suicide car-bombs claimed by ISIL on October 6.

The bomber was a man in his 20s wearing the uniform of the resistance, said Salem Mustafa, a resident of Al Mansourah district where the bombing took place on Monday afternoon.

Mr Mustafa said he saw the man go into a tent at a checkpoint set up by the resistance at the Caltex roundabout, near Al Boraihi hospital, before setting off his explosives.

“The tent was completely destroyed in the bombing and several members of the resistance were taken to Al Boraihi hospital,” Mr Mustafa said.

The attack came just hours after the governor of Aden, Ga’afar Mohamed Sa’ad, who was appointed on October 9, held a meeting with resistance leaders to discuss their role in stopping groups of armed men trying to create chaos in Aden, where the resistance controls most of the checkpoints.

Aden security officials ordered the setting up of more checkpoints after the killing of Emirati serviceman Capt Hadif Humaid Al Shamsi on October 17. That attack, also in Al Mansourah district, was allegedly carried out by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap).

Troops from the UAE and other members of a Saudi-led regional coalition helped liberate Aden from Houthi rebels and allied renegade units of the military loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in mid July.

Capt Al Shamsi was the first Emirati fatality in Aden since the bombing raids on October 6 that were claimed by the extremist group ISIL.

Suicide bombers driving explosives-laden vehicles targeted a hotel housing members of President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi’s government, a coalition camp and the local headquarters of the Emirates Red Crescent, killing 15 coalition soldiers including four Emiratis.

Several analysts accuse Aqap and the former president Saleh of working together to create chaos in the south.

Fadhl Al Rabei, a political analyst and head of Madar Strategic Studies Center in Aden, said Aqap was targeting the Southern Resistance.

“The Aqap members have become enemies of the southern movement. They want to be part of the Aden administration, and this is difficult,” Mr Al Rabei said.

Al Qaeda militants control Al Mukallah district in Hadramawt province to the east, but they have no stronghold in Aden, he said.

“The Aqap fighters in Aden are few and the state security forces should work as hard as they can to stop them targeting the resistance and people in Aden.”

Meanwhile, in the rebel-besieged central city of Taez, Houthi shelling killed four civilians and wounded three, security and medical officials said on Monday.

Intense fighting involving tanks and rocket fire continued overnight, with 12 resistance fighters killed and more than 20 wounded, while at least 25 Houthis were killed and more than 30 were wounded, they said. Air strikes by the coalition also hit the area near the Republican Palace, one of the main battlegrounds.

The Yemeni president accused the Houthis of murdering women and children and destroying schools, mosques and residential areas in the city using medium and heavy weapons.

In a phone call to the head of the military council in Taez, Brigadier Sadeq Sarhan, Mr Hadi promised full support to the army and resistance in liberating the city from the rebels

Besides civilian deaths, the fighting to force back the Iran-backed Houthi rebels from areas they have seized has left millions of citizens without adequate food, water or medical supplies. Humanitarian agencies from the Saudi-led coalition, including the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) have been attempting to meet these needs in liberated areas, with thousands of tonnes of aid delivered so far.

On Monday, representatives of the Yemeni government and Gulf relief organisations met at the headquarters of the GCC general secretariat in Riyadh and agreed to set up a joint coordination mechanism for delivering aid.

The decision came as the ERC said it had provided food packages to about 181,000 families in the cities of Seiyun, Shibam and neighbouring villages in Hadramawt province in the past three months.

The director of the ERC office in Seiyun and Shibam, Nasser Al Kathiri, told the Yemeni News Agency, that 17,268 of the families were displaced from other provinces.

The ERC on Monday received a donation of Dh500,000 from Human Appeal International, an Emirati charity, to support its “Yemen: We Care” campaign launched in response to the directives of the President Sheikh Khalifa.

* With reporting from Wam and Associated Press