DUBAI: A high-ranking Yemeni intelligence official injured in a Houthi rebel drone attack on the country’s largest air base died of his wounds on Sunday, medical sources said.

Intelligence Brigadier General Saleh Tamah was wounded on Thursday in a strike on a military parade in Al-Anad air base, in government-held Lahij province some 60 kilometres north of Yemen’s second city Aden.

Medical sources said that Tamah underwent several surgeries in a hospital in Aden but died Sunday morning.

At least seven loyalists — including Tamah — were killed and 11 injured in Thursday’s incident, which threatens to hamper United Nations-led peace efforts.

Among those injured were Yemen’s deputy chief of staff Saleh al-Zandani, senior army commander Fadel Hasan and Lahij governor Ahmad Abdullah al-Turki.

Turki and Zandani were transported to Saudi Arabia for treatment, a Yemeni official said.

The UN voiced alarm on Friday following the attack and urged “all parties to the conflict to exercise restraint and refrain from further escalation”.

Rebels boycott meeting with UN-led truce monitors

Yemeni rebels on Sunday boycotted a meeting chaired by the head of a UN-led ceasefire monitoring team in the flashpoint city of Hodeida, accusing him of pursuing “other agendas”.

Retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert is leading a joint committee, which includes both government and rebel representatives, tasked with overseeing a truce in the Red Sea port city and the withdrawal of both parties.

Houthi rebel negotiator Mohammed Abdelsalam said Cammaert “steered from the course of the agreement by implementing other agendas”.

“If [UN envoy to Yemen Martin] Griffiths does not address the issue, it is going to be difficult to discuss any other matter,” he said on Twitter without elaborating.

The Houthi representatives did not take part in the committee meeting in Hodeida on Sunday.

The UN declined to comment.

Last month the warring parties agreed a ceasefire for Hodeida during UN-sponsored talks in Sweden.

The United Nations has said the truce has largely held since it came into force on December 18 but there have been delays in the agreed pullback of rebel and government forces. The Houthis control most of Hodeida while government forces are deployed on the southern and eastern outskirts.

Since the Saudi-led military coalition intervened in support of the government in March 2015, the conflict has killed nearly 10,000 people and unleashed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations.

UN aid officials say 80 per cent of the population — 24 million people — are in need of aid and nearly 10 million are just one step away from famine.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2019