AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s security forces in the southern province of Shabwa have busted an Iran-backed Houthi cell responsible for deadly attacks on security and military personnel in the area.
The country’s official news agency SABA reported that the security forces discovered a “terrorist” operation that had planted several roadside bombs and other explosive devices in the province’s capital.
Also uncovered, was a plot to assassinate Shabwa’s governor, officers of the Coalition for the Restoration of Legitimacy in Yemen, and other security and military officers.
In October, members of the cell detonated an improvised explosive device that ripped through a military vehicle staffed by Giants Brigades personnel, as well as a roadside bomb that exploded by a car belonging to a former Shabwa security commander, killing his son, and injuring three others.
Yemini authorities have so far not disclosed the number of members of the cell or how it was discovered.
The energy-rich province of Shabwa, which is controlled by the Yemeni government, has seen a series of drive-by shootings and explosions that have killed numerous government personnel and generated fear in the province’s capital, Attaq.
Shabwa Gov. Awadh Al-Wazer has escaped several murder attempts since taking over the province in December last year.
The Houthis suffered a huge blow earlier this year when the Giants Bridges evicted them from the Bayhan, Ouselan, and Ain areas of Shabwa, which led to the province becoming Houthi-free.
Security officials said that the Houthis had surreptitiously dispatched agents to Shabwa and other freed areas to destabilize security and assassinate government leaders.
Meanwhile, Yemeni army officials in the southern city of Taiz said the Houthis had continued their shelling and attacks on government-controlled areas of the heavily populated city on Tuesday night, sparking combat that lasted until Wednesday morning.
Government troops exchanged heavy machine-gun and artillery fire with the Houthis stationed on the city’s eastern, western, and northern edges.
A UN-brokered truce, which went into force on April 2, resulted in a dramatic reduction in hostilities throughout the country, as well as the departure of commercial aircraft from Sanaa airport and the docking of fuel ships at Hodeidah port.
However, people in Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city, which has been under a Houthi siege since early 2015, say that the militias have neither ceased their deadly and arbitrary shelling of civilian areas nor reduced their blockade.
Also, in Taiz, the international organization Save the Children said on Tuesday that a three-year-old boy and his father had died, and four other people were injured on Sunday after a shell burst in a residential neighborhood, bringing the number of child deaths in October to 11.
“I am appalled by yet another reckless act of armed violence impacting children in Taiz. In October, our team in Taiz responded to 12 cases of child injuries, and almost half of them lost limbs from landmines and other explosive weapons,” Save the Children Yemen director, Rama Hansraj, said, adding that child-related mortality had fallen significantly since the truce.