|Date: Aug 2, 2019|
|Source: The Daily Star|
|Missile, suicide attack kill dozens in Aden|
ADEN, Yemen: Yemen’s main southern city of Aden was shaken by double attacks Thursday as a missile fired by rebels hit a military parade and suicide bombers blasted a police station.
The attacks killed at least 51 people and wounded dozens, officials said. Most of the dead came from the missile strike, which slammed into a parade of newly graduated fighters belonging to a militia loyal to the United Arab Emirates, known as the Security Belt.
Among the dead was a senior commander in the militia, Mounir al-Yafie, also known by his nickname Aboul Yamama, a security official told the Associated Press. His body was torn in half, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the details.
At least 40 people were killed at the base on Aden’s western outskirts, a health official said. The earlier attack at the police station in the central Omar al-Mokhtar neighborhood of Aden, was believed to have been carried out by militants.
The violence left at least 56 people wounded, health officials said.
It pointed to the multiple dangers facing the port city, even though Yemen’s 4-year-old civil war is locked in a stalemate.
The northern part of Yemen is controlled by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who have positions on front lines as close as 100 kilometers from Aden and often hit it and nearby areas with missiles or bombs dropped by drones.
Islamist militants - from both Al-Qaeda and a Daesh (ISIS) affiliate - also operate in Aden. Their mass bombings had become less frequent, though assassinations and shootings regularly take place.
Aden is also at the center of stormy and often violent divisions within the Arab coalition fighting the Houthis. Ostensibly, the coalition aims to restore Yemen’s internationally recognized government, driven out of the capital of Sanaa in the Houthis’ 2014 takeover. The Houthis claimed responsibility for the missile strike in a statement on their website by a military spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Yehia Sarea. He said Houthis had fired a medium-range ballistic missile at the parade.
A car, a bus and three motorcycles laden with explosives detonated in front of the police station during a morning 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, he told the AP.
“I felt myself flying in the air and falling down, hitting the floor,” said one senior officer, Zakariya Ahmed. “When I got up on my feet, I saw bodies burning, others torn into pieces.” Deputy Interior Minister Ali Nasser Lakhsha told reporters as he inspected the site that it was unclear who carried it out. “This is a horrific terrorist attack targeting our police.”
The attacks were the deadliest in Aden since November 2017, when the Daesh affiliate in Yemen targeted the city’s security headquarters, leaving 15 dead, mostly policemen.