A missile attack on a military parade and a suicide bombing outside a police station killed 51 people in Aden yesterday in what appeared to be coordinated attacks by Houthi rebels.
The military parade attack killed at least 40 people, including a senior Yemini military officer, Brig. Gen. Munair al-Yafae. The New York Times said: “The general was considered one of the most formidable Yemeni commanders among the Saudi-backed forces”. Elana DeLozier, a scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who has studied the conflict, notes that his death: “Could provoke a vow of revenge by his powerful tribe, although what form that might take is unclear.”
The attack hit Aden’s neighbourhood of Breiqa where military forces loyal to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) held a parade at the pro-coalition al-Galaa camp. Houthi rebels claimed the military parade was part of preparations by government forces for an assault on Houthi-held territory north of the city.
Earlier in the day, four suicide bombers using a car, bus and three motorcycles armed with explosives detonated outside a police station in Aden’s Omar al-Mokhtar neighbourhood. The explosion killed 11 people and wounded more than 29.
The attacks came weeks after the UAE announced the withdrawal of 50-75 per cent of its troops from Yemen. The UAE said the troops would be replaced by 90,000 locally trained forces. The UAE has overseen security around Aden and was expected to remove mobile Patriot missile batteries that they had deployed to help defend the city from airstrikes such as the one that hit the military parade.
Aden has been the provisional capital of Yemen for the Saudi-backed forces as Sana continues to be controlled by the Iranian backed Houthi rebels. This was the deadliest attack in Aden since November 2017.