Militants kill two senior security officials in Aden

Commander of military forces in Abyan province and the deputy of Aden’s political security were shot in their car.

Yemeni pro-government soldiers in the recently captured Fardhat Nihm area, about 60km from the rebel-held capital Sanaa, on February 20, 2016. Ali Owidha / Reuters
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Aden // A Yemeni military commander and a security chief travelling in the same car were assassinated in Aden on Monday when militants in another vehicle opened fire with machine guns.

Gen Abdrabu Hussein Al Israeli, the commander of military forces in Abyan province, was killed as the car left his home in the city’s Al Mansoura district in the morning. The deputy of Aden’s political security Ga’abal Alawi Amras, who was driving the car, was also killed, a security official in the interior ministry told The National.

The two men were “killed immediately” the source said, adding that the technique of using such a big weapon from a car differed from other assassinations carried out in Aden in recent months, which usually involved gunmen on motorbikes. Those attacks have been claimed by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. There have also been several suicide car bombings targeting officials, which have been claimed by ISIL affiliates. The killings came a day after several heavily armed masked men attacked guards at the main port in Aden on Sunday night, attempting to take over the container storage area. The guards fought back and drove the attackers away, according to the interior ministry official.

“The clashes at the [port’s] main gate continued for one hour,” he said, accusing the attackers of being “terrorists” the source added, accusing “the terrorists”.

The internationally recognised Yemeni government is currently using Aden as the capital after Houthi rebels were driven from the city last summer with the help of UAE forces.

But security in the city has deteriorated with ISIL affiliates and Al Qaeda gunmen active in various neighbourhoods.

The port is located in Al Mansoura district, which is mostly under the control of militias.

The Saudi-led coalition has started to respond by targeting extremist strongholds with air strikes. On Sunday night warplanes bombed a military base in Hadramout province, under the control of Al Qaeda.

The Al Rayan base is in Al Mukalla district which was seized by Al Qaeda in April 2015.

Meanwhile, a Yemeni political researcher has accused a United Nations agency of bias in the conflict by “serving the interests of the Houthi militias” and turning a blind eye to their human-rights violations.

In his paper, Abdullah Ismaeel, said that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), had not provided the government of Abdrabu Mansur Hadi or Yemeni civil society organisations with any aid or support.

George Abu Al Zulof, the representative of the High Commissioner in Yemen, was last month expelled from the country by Mr Hadi’s government, which accused him of lacking impartiality in his assessments of the country’s human rights situation.

Mr Al Zulof, who was based in rebel-held Sanaa, had shown “eagerness to cooperate with the rebel forces” Mr Ismaeel said, referring to the Houthis, which he said were an illegal militia under Yemeni law.

Mr Al Zulof “avoided condemning or even expressing concern in regard to the violations and acts of aggression committed by the Houthi militia”, Mr Ismaeel said, adding that OHCHR had “overplayed the consequences of any operations targeting the Houthi militias”.