Three Emirati soldiers killed during operations in Yemen

ABU DHABI // The UAE is mourning three more Emirati soldiers who have lost their lives in Operation Restoring Hope.

Juma Jawhar Juma Al Hammadi, Khalid Mohammed Abdullah Al Shehhi and Fahim Saeed Ahmed Al Habsi, all first corporals, were killed on Saturday in Yemen.

The General Headquarters of the Armed Forces offered condolences to the families of the three men.

Six Emiratis have now died in the Saudi-led operation aimed at driving out Houthi rebels and restoring to power the internationally recognised government of president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.

In June, a non-commissioned officer, Hazim Obaid Al Ali, 40, died in Saudi Arabia during training exercises for the conflict. Another non-commissioned officer Saif Youssef Ahmed Al Falasi, 35, a father of five from Dubai, and Lt Abdul Aziz Sarhan Saleh Al Kaabi, from Al Ain, were killed on duty last month in Yemen.

On the ground yesterday, Hadi loyalist forces continued to make gains in their push northwards after they drove the Iranian-backed rebels out of the southern port city of Aden last month, and last week recaptured the key military airbase of Al Anad 60 kilometres to the north.

Strengthened by tanks supplied by the Arab coalition, they launched a two-pronged drive from the north and south to retake Zinjibar, the rebel-held capital of the southern province of Abyan.

The tanks were part of a coalition package including other armoured vehicles, personnel carriers and hundreds of Yemeni soldiers trained in the kingdom.

At least 22 people, mostly returning civilians, have been killed in the past three days by booby-trap mines planted by retreating Houthis in Aden and Lahj provinces.

Six people also died yesterday when fighting erupted between local residents and Houthi forces in the Hazem Al Adeen area of Ibb province. In Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city, four civilians were killed and six injured in clashes between Houthi and pro-Hadi fighters.

In the capital, Sanaa, which is still under rebel control, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross arrived yesterday for a three-day visit to assess the “dire humanitarian situation”.

He is expected to meet Houthi leaders and their renegade military allies loyal to the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The United Nations says nearly 4,000 people have been killed since March, half of them civilians, and 80 per cent of Yemen’s 21 million people are in need of aid and protection. The Red Cross says 1.3 million Yemenis have been displaced by the conflict, and four Red Cross volunteers have been killed.

“The human cost of this conflict is such that no family in Yemen today has been left unaffected,” Mr Mauer said.

“We are particularly concerned about attacks on medical facilities and personnel. Moreover, deliveries of food, water and medicine must be facilitated, not hampered.”

It was not clear if Mr Mauer would visit Aden, where aid from the UN and the UAE has been arriving by sea and air since the rebels were driven out.