Sana: At least 66 people were killed in Yemen on Sunday after the Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting rebel forces in the country conducted airstrikes, AFP reported. Fourteen members of forces loyal to president-in-exile Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi also died fighting Houthi rebels as the two sides continued their struggle for the control of the Bab al-Mandab Strait, a strategic maritime route that connects the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
More than 70 people were reported wounded during Sunday’s fighting, as well. Spokespersons for the pro-government forces said that while their side was only 10 km outside of Mokha city, rebel-planted mines had slowed down their progress. The operation by the troops loyal to Hadi is also part of an offensive to retake control of Dhubab district, which overlooks the strait.
Meanwhile, a suspected drone strike by the United States killed three alleged al Qaeda operatives in Yemen’s Bayda province, AP reported. Among those reported to be killed was Abu Anis al-Abi, an area field commander for the terror outfit. If confirmed, the killings will be the first such conducted by US forces since Donald Trump took office as president. Separately, United Nations peace envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed arrived in Yemeni Capital Sana’a on Sunday for potential ceasefire talks.
While the Saudi Arabia-led coalition has been fighting on Hadi’s side since March 2015, Houthi rebel forces still control Sana’a and large parts of central and north Yemen. More than 10,000 people have died and three million have been displaced in Yemen since the coalition got involved in the country’s civil war.