Pro-Hadi Coalition Suffers as UAE, Bahrain Lose 50 Troops
The UAE said 45 of its troops were killed in Yemen and Bahrain said it lost five soldiers Friday, the deadliest day for a Saudi-led coalition battling Yemeni Houthis.
Supporters of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, Yemen’s exiled president said an “accidental explosion” at an arms depot at a military base in the eastern province of Marib initially killed 22 Emiratis, with 23 wounded soldiers later dying of their injuries. The Houthis said their fighters launched a rocket attack that caused the blast, AFP reported.
Coalition ally Bahrain said five of its soldiers were killed in southern Saudi Arabia where they had been posted to help defend the border with war-wracked Yemen. It did not give a precise location. However, Yemen’s exiled presidency said the Bahrainis died in the same blast that killed the Emirati forces.
The Arab coalition led by Riyadh has since March battled Houthi forces to restore the rule of Mansour Hadi.
The campaign was launched as the Houthis advanced on the southern port city of Aden, after having taken control of the capital Sana’a without resistance in September 2014.
The United Arab Emirates armed forces, in a statement carried by state news agency WAM, did not disclose the circumstances of what was its highest casualty toll of the six-month-long air war.
The Emirati army had previously announced at least eight deaths in Yemen among its ranks.
A total of 33 Yemenis and coalition forces were killed and dozens of people were wounded in the blast at the base in Safer, 250 kilometers from Sana’a, the pro-Hadi army command said. A thick plume of black smoke was still billowing from the base several hours later.
Friday’s heavy coalition losses came as Saudi King Salman was in Washington for talks with US President Barack Obama at which Yemen figured high on the agenda.
More than 4,500 people have been killed in Yemen’s conflict, including hundreds of children, according to figures from the United Nations, which has warned that the impoverished country is on the brink of famine.
The United Nations is waiting for $10 million to set up inspections of commercial ships carrying desperately needed fuel and other supplies to war-torn Yemen, the spokesman said Thursday.
Yemen is heavily dependent on commercial imports for food, fuel and other basic goods, but shipments have dropped dramatically since the Saudi-led coalition began blockading key ports; Tasnim reported.