Rebel missile attack and suicide bombings leave 51 dead in Yemen

Rebels in Yemen fired a ballistic missile yesterday at a military parade in the southern port city of Aden while co-ordinated suicide bombings targeted a police station in another part of the city. The attacks killed at least 51 people and wounded dozens, officials said.

Dozens of Yemeni police, including a senior commander, were killed or wounded in the attack, according to a security source. The missile attack, which came as a suicide bomber killed at last three police in the Sheikh Othman area of the southern port city, was claimed by Huthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa. (Photo by Nabil HASAN / AFP)NABIL HASAN/AFP/Getty Images

The missile hit in the city’s neighbourhood of Breiqa where a military parade was underway by forces loyal to the United Arab Emirates, a member of the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting the Iran-backed Houthi rebels since 2015 in support of Yemen’s internationally recognised government.

The missile attack killed at least 40, a health official said.

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The parade was taking place at the pro-coalition al-Galaa camp in Aden, said a security official, without giving a breakdown for the casualties.

Since the rebels seized the country’s capital, Sanaa, in 2014, Aden has served as the temporary seat of the government.

The website of the Houthi rebels, Al-Masirah, quoted spokesman Brig Gen Yehia Sarea as saying the rebels had fired a medium-range ballistic missile at the parade, leaving scores of casualties, including military commanders.

The security official told the Associated Press that UAE-backed commander Monier al Yafie, also known by his nickname Aboul Yamama, was among those killed.

He was delivering a speech during the parade, the official said.

A short while earlier, a car, a bus and three motorcycles laden with explosives targeted a police station in the city’s Omar al-Mokhtar neighbourhood during a morning police roll-call, said Abdel Dayem Ahmed, a senior police official.

Four suicide bombers were involved in the attack, which killed 11 and wounded at least 29, Mr Ahmed said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the police station bombings but both Yemen’s al-Qaeda branch and an Islamic State group affiliate have exploited the chaos of the country’s war between the Houthis and the government forces, backed by the Saudi-led coalition.

A Yemeni health official said that along with the 51 killed, as many as 56 were wounded in yesterday’s attacks.

Charred remains of the attackers’ vehicles were seen at the scene of the police station attack, next to a metre-deep crater caused by the bombings. Doctors Without Borders tweeted that dozens of wounded were transferred to the aid group’s surgical hospital in Aden, where families of the victims had gathered.

Zakarya Ahmed, a senior police officer who was inside the three-story station when the bombings took place, described the attack as “a disaster.”