Rebel drone kills 6 loyalists at biggest Yemen airbase

Al Anad Air Base: A fighter drone hit Yemen’s largest air base on Thursday, killing six loyalist soldiers during a military parade in an attack which raises questions over UN-led peace efforts.
At talks in Sweden last month, the UN brokered several agreements between Ansar Allah fighters and the government that had been seen as providing the best opportunity yet of ending nearly four years of devastating conflict.
The Ansar Allah fighters said they carried out the strike on Al Anad air base, in government-held Lahij province some 60 kilometres north of Yemen’s second city Aden.
At least 12 people were wounded in the attack, including top commanders, according to medics at the Ibn Khaldoun hospital in the provincial capital Houta.
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 that journalists were among the wounded.
Originally built by the then Soviet Union during the Cold War, Al Anad served as the headquarters for US troops overseeing a long-running drone war against Al Qaeda until March 2014, when it was overrun by Ansar Allah.
The base was recaptured by government forces in August 2015 as they recovered territory from the fighters across the south with support from a military coalition.
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 said 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.
The attack came one day after UN envoy Martin Griffiths warned “substantial progress” was needed on the ground before full-blown negotiations could be launched on ending the civil war.
— AFP