Houthis launch drone attack on convoy carrying Yemen defence minister

Two soldiers injured in apparent assassination attempt on government officials

An armoured vehicle belonging to Yemen government fighters near the southern city of Taiz. AFP
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Houthi rebels on Saturday launched a drone strike on a convoy carrying Yemen's defence minister and several other government officials near the southern city of Taiz.

The Iran-backed rebels attempted to assassinate Yemen’s Minister of Defence Mohsen Al Darei by targeting a convoy that also included Taiz governor Nabil Shamsan, sources told The National.

Both men survived the attack, but two soldiers were injured when two drones targeted the convoy in Al Kadha area, between Mokha and Taez, a source close to the defence minister said.

A photo reporting to show how the governor’s extensively damaged vehicle was circulated on social media.

“The Houthis had been escalating attacks on numerous fronts in recent weeks,” Jacob Sufyani of the South24 think tank told The National.

Taiz, Yemen's third largest city, is controlled by the Saudi-backed government but surrounded by Houthi rebels, who have seized large swathes of the country in almost a decade of war.

The flare-up comes amid growing international efforts to end the war that has ravaged the Arab world's poorest country.

The Houthis seized control of Yemen's capital Sanaa in late 2014, prompting a Saudi-led military intervention on behalf of the internationally-recognised government the following year.

Earlier this month, Riyadh and Tehran agreed to restore diplomatic ties after seven years, spurring hope it would lead to calm in Yemen, where the regional heavyweights back opposing sides.

But analysts have said the surprise March 10 announcement was unlikely to end the conflict immediately.

Updated: March 26, 2023, 8:55 AM