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At least 15 Yemen soldiers killed in jihadist bombing

SANAA: Yemenis check the destruction following a reported airstrike by Saudi-led coalition airplanes. — AFP
SANAA: Yemenis check the destruction following a reported airstrike by Saudi-led coalition airplanes. — AFP

ADEN: At least 15 pro-government Yemeni soldiers were killed in rebel attacks in the north and in a suspected jihadist bombing in Aden yesterday, military and security sources said. Shiite Houthi rebels and their allies launched twin attacks to try to retake the port of Midi in the northern province of Hajja, after loyalists had captured it, military sources said. “Eleven soldiers were killed in the attacks and 28 others were wounded,” a military official said.

Meanwhile, Saudi-led coalition warplanes carried out 15 air strikes against the Iran-backed rebels to stop their advance in the area, military sources said. Other air strikes hit rebel positions in the insurgent-controlled capital Sanaa and other provinces over the past 24 hours, they added. The sources spoke of rebel casualties but AFP could not verify this as the Huthis and their allies rarely acknowledge their losses. The coalition began its war on the Iran-backed rebels in March 2015. It intensified operations since the suspension in early August of UN-brokered peace talks between the rebels and their allies and Yemen’s government.

Also yesterday, in Yemen’s main southern city of Aden, a roadside bomb killed four soldiers and wounded one at a checkpoint in the Sheikh Othman district, a security official said. He said jihadists, who have boosted their attacks in government-controlled Aden over the past few months despite efforts to increase security, are suspected of being behind the bombing. Earlier, the official had given a toll of two soldiers killed and three wounded but said that two later succumbed to their injuries. More than 6,600 people have been killed in the Yemeni conflict since March 2015, the UN says.

Refinery resumes operations

Meanwhile, Aden’s oil refinery resumed operations yesterday, more than a year after the armed conflict between Yemeni government forces and Shiite rebels brought work to a halt, a spokesman said. The facility was damaged during months of fighting in 2015 that raged after the rebels and their allies attacked the southern port city where President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi had taken refuge, forcing him into exile.

“The refinery has resumed activities after receiving 66,000 tons of crude oil” from around one million tonnes stockpiled in the southeastern province of Hadramawt, Nasser Al-Shaef said. The refinery’s closure triggered a severe shortage of petroleum products and a blackout in Aden when the power station ran out of fuel. The situation improved after loyalists backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition pushed the rebels out of Aden and four southern provinces late last year, allowing fuel and power generators to be shipped in. The coalition began a military campaign against the Iran-backed rebels in March 2015. More than 6,600 people have been killed in the conflict since then, the UN says. Impoverished Yemen exported modest amounts of crude before the conflict. – Agencies

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