ADEN, Yemen, June 8 (Xinhua) — A Yemeni army commander along with four of his bodyguards were killed Saturday during an explosion that targeted their military vehicle in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, a security official told Xinhua.
The official based in the war-torn province said that “an explosive device exploded and targeted a military vehicle as it was passing in the northern part of Khokha district in Hodeidah, killing commander of the 3rd army battalion, Ali Ahmed Qatmul along with four of his companions.”
He said on condition of anonymity that Qatmul was on his way to inspect the military positions of the pro-government brigade when the explosion targeted his vehicle.
Several government and civilian soldiers have been targeted by improvised explosive devices in areas controlled by the Saudi-backed Yemeni government forces in Hodeidah during the past months.
In recent weeks, armed confrontations between the pro-government forces and the Houthi rebels continued in escalation despite the cease-fire brokered by the United Nations during Stockholm’s peace talks last year.
Earlier in the day, pro-government forces said that their positions in Hodeidah’s districts of Tuhyata, Durayhmi and Hays were targeted by heavy Houthi shelling.
The Iran-allied Houthi rebels control the city while the Saudi-backed government troops have advanced to the southeastern outskirts.
Hodeidah is the key lifeline entry point for the country’s most food imports and humanitarian aid. The four-year grinding war has pushed over 20 million people to the verge of starvation.
The Yemeni warring parties reached a peace deal on Hodeidah in December last year as a first step toward brokering a comprehensive political solution.
Sporadic breaches are daily recorded in Hodeidah as the two belligerent sides failed to withdraw their forces in accordance with an agreement reached in the Swedish capital Stockholm.