Anti-Hadi officer escapes Yemen assassination: Security

AFP , Friday 20 Mar 2015

Yemen
Militia men loyal to Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi take photos near an army tank in Yemen's southern port city of Aden March 19, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

A top Yemeni officer linked to the Shiite militia opposed to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi escaped an assassination bid near the southern city of Aden, a security official said Friday.

Four people were killed in an ambush on the Lahj-Taiz road but General Abdel Hafedh al-Sakkaf, the Special Forces chief in Aden, escaped harmed, said the official from Lahj.

He said the attack took place in Al-Athawir as Sakkaf fled Aden overnight in a convoy to Lahj, on its way towards militia-held Sanaa.

"He escaped the assassination bid but a bodyguard was shot dead, while three others died when their vehicle overturned," said the official.

The attack came as forces loyal to Hadi tightened their control over Aden where the situation was calm early Friday after a day of deadly clashes.

Troops loyal to Hadi and their allied Popular Committees paramilitary manned checkpoints, an AFP correspondent reported.

Hadi himself had to evacuate a presidential palace in Aden on Thursday after a fighter jet opened fire, hitting a nearby hill.

The president fled house arrest last month by the Shiite Huthi militia in Sanaa and has taken refuge in Aden.

At least seven special forces fighters and four members of the Popular Committees were killed Thursday, a security sources, and 54 were wounded on the two sides.

The clashes forced the closure of Aden's airport, where Sakkaf's forces tried to seize control but were repelled by pro-Hadi troops and paramilitary.

The northern rebels overran the capital in September and have since seized control of government installations.

Yemen, a key US ally in the fight against Al-Qaeda, has been gripped by unrest since ex-strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down in early 2012 after a year-long popular uprising.

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