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Yemen: Deadly blast targets Saudi-backed government convoy in Aden

Governor and environment minister survive car bomb, but others killed near seat of Yemeni government power
People look at the scene of a blast, where the bodies of victims are covered with a blanket, in Aden, Yemen, on 10 October 2021 (Reuters)

At least six people were killed by a car-bomb in Aden targeting two officials from Yemen's internationally recognised government on Sunday, according to security sources. 

The blast went off as Aden Governor Ahmed Lamlas and Environment Minister Salem al-Socotri's convoy was passing through the area, the sources said. Both officials survived, but at least five others were killed and 11 wounded.

"A car bomb... on Al-Mualla Street exploded while the convoy of officials... was passing," a Yemeni security source told AFP, adding that the victims were in the convoy.

Charred bodies were seen by a Reuters witness shortly after the large blast shook the city, where Yemen's Saudi-backed government is based. Images showed police and firefighters working at the scene, while scores of onlookers gathered to inspect the damage. 

The source of the blast was a vehicle rigged with explosives, the security sources said.

Yemen's prime minister and government ministers reside at the presidential palace in Aden's central Crater district, while the president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, is based in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Hadi described the car-bomb as a "terrorist operation", according to state news agency Saba, while Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalek Saeed called for an investigation into the "terrorist and cowardly" attack. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the blast.

Lamlas and Socotri both belong to the United Arab Emirates-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC). The Aden governor is secretary general of the separatist group.

Last week, four fighters were left dead in Aden after clashes broke out between members of the STC. 

South Yemen has been paralysed by the power struggle between the Saudi-backed government and the UAE-backed STC, leading to protests in recent months over widespread poverty and poor public services.

In December 2020, officials from the STC were integrated into the cabinet in an uneasy power-sharing agreement.

The nominal allies have been fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, which controls the capital Sanaa and most of northern Yemen, since civil war broke out in 2014.