DUBAI Two senior army commanders from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were killed along with two Saudi soldiers in Yemen as fighting with a Houthi militia flared prior to Tuesday’s expected peace talks, state media reported on Monday.
Sultan Mohammed Ali al-Kitbi, an Emirati officer, was killed near Taiz, state news agency WAM reported on Monday. Photographs of Abdullah al-Sahian, a best Saudi officer, had been displayed by Saudi-owned al-Arabiya al-Hadath channel on Monday alongside Muslim verses of mourning.
The Houthi militia stated through its personal media outlet that the two had been killed in a rocket attack on the Red Sea coast. The militia, alongside forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, has been battling fighters backed by Gulf states.
The Houthis and Saleh’s former political celebration, the Basic People’s Congress, are sending representatives to Switzerland on Tuesday for talks with Yemen’s internationally recognized government under President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
A seven-day renewable ceasefire is scheduled to come into effect on Monday to coincide with the talks. Two preceding attempts at ceasefires, in May and July, were followed by accusations of breaches by each sides.
Saudi Arabia led an Arab coalition in a military campaign from late March to quit the Houthis, allies of Riyadh’s principal regional foe Iran, from taking total manage of Yemen right after they had sophisticated south final year, seizing the capital Sanaa.
The campaign has succeeded in retaking the southern port of Aden and the northeastern city of Marib but has failed to oust the Houthis from Taiz or end attacks on the Saudi border that have killed scores of the kingdom’s soldiers.
Beyond the primary theater of conflict, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has seized handle of considerably of the province of Hadramawt and Gulf-backed forces have failed to avoid attacks in locations they handle by Yemen’s wing of Islamic State.
Western nations that back Saudi Arabia say they are increasingly alarmed at the humanitarian expense of the war, in which more than five,000 folks have been killed, including far more than 2,000 civilians. It has also pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.
(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari Writing by Angus McDowall Editing by Paul Tait)