Yemeni troops recapture Aden army base after four-hour siege

Militants who attacked base headquarters near international airport killed after heavy gun battle; casualties include soldiers.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

UAE soldiers stand guard at the international airport of the southern port city of Aden, Yemen. August 1, 2015.

The army headquarters near Aden international airport in Yemen, seized by militants early Wednesday, was recaptured by Saudi-backed Yemeni forces after a four-hour-long gun battle, the base commander said.

The assault resulted in the deaths of 10 Yemeni troops and around 20 attackers. There was no immediate information on the fate of the officers who were inside the headquarters building when it was seized in the morning.

The assailants, who were wearing military uniforms, penetrated the garrison after setting off one car bomb at its entrance then ramming through a second and detonating it inside, a military source said.

"Troops and special forces have regained control of the base after pushing back the jihadists, several of whom were killed in the fighting," base commander General Nasser Sarie told AFP. A security source said other attackers managed to escape.

An aerial view shows Aden, a city in southern Yemen. November 30, 2010

Apache attack helicopters of a Saudi-led military coalition that intervened in support of the government in March last year were in the skies above the base, witnesses said. The base commander said Saudi-led coalition forces had assisted in the recapture of the headquarters building.

Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher, who was in Aden at the time of the attack, vowed he would "not allow saboteurs to harm the security of residents and block the policies of the government."

But the army and police in Aden are still struggling to secure the city more than a year after it was taken back from Houthi rebels who have seized control of large parts of the country.

Aden has repeatedly been attacked by DAESH and Al Qaeda while Houthi rebels control a large part of the country. 

In a separate incident Tuesday night, a Katyusha rocket barrage launched by Houthi forces on the outskirts of the central city of Marib killed seven children between the ages of five and nine, local officials said.

The conflict in Yemen has killed more than 6,400 people around half of which were civilians.

The United Nations said the country is going through a humanitarian crisis.

TRTWorld and agencies