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Houthi drone kills troops loyal to Yemen government at Al-Anad airbase in Lahij

A rebel drone attack on Yemen’s largest airbase killed several loyalist soldiers on Thursday, sources on both sides said.

The Houthi rebels said they carried out the attack on Al-Anad airbase in the government-held southern province of Lahij.

A pro-government source said there had been fatalities in the attack, which had hit a military parade, but gave no precise casualty toll.

An AFP photographer at the scene confirmed the attack.

Hospital sources said at least six people were killed. Another 12 people were wounded, including top commanders, medics said.

Yemen’s deputy chief of staff Saleh al-Zandani, intelligence Brigadier General Saleh Tamah and senior army commander Fadel Hasan were among the wounded, along with Lahij governor Ahmad Abdullah al-Turki, doctors at Ibn Khaldoun hospital told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Chief of staff General Abdullah al-Nakhi was also at the base at the time of the attack, a pro-government official said. He was not named among the casualties.

Footage of the attack showed a drone exploding over a podium around which dozens of military personnel were standing.

Soldiers scrambled to carry wounded comrades to military vehicles, while a man holding a camera bled on the ground.

An AFP correspondent at the scene said journalists were among the wounded.

Al-Anad, which lies some 60 km (40 miles) north of Yemen’s second city Aden, was the headquarters for U.S. troops overseeing a long-running drone war against al-Qaeda until March 2014 when it was overrun by the Houthi rebels.

It was recaptured by government forces in August 2015 as they recovered territory from the rebels across the south with support from a Saudi-led military coalition.

In April, Emirates News Agency said the United Arab Emirates had seized an Iranian drone that was transporting explosive materials to Yemen, likely destined for the Houthis.

The Gulf monarchies and United States accuse Iran of supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen – and see this as justification for the military campaign they have been waging in Yemen since 2015.

Iran supports the rebels politically but denies supplying them with arms.

UN investigates origin of arms seized off Yemen coast by US Navy in August


With reporting from AFP

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