Yemen forces clash with jihadists after Red Cross worker killed

Yemen forces clash with jihadists after Red Cross worker killed
Fierce clashes in Taiz's Jahmaliah district left at least five pro-government soldiers dead, in an operation against militants suspected to be behind the murder of an ICRC employee.
2 min read
23 April, 2018
An operation was launched against militants suspected of killing the aid worker [Getty]
Five pro-government soldiers were killed and 19 others were wounded in clashes with jihadists in Yemen's southern city of Taiz on Monday, shortly after the killing of an aid worker with the International Committee of the Red Cross, medics said.

Fierce clashes broke out in the city's Jahmaliah district after an operation was launched against militants suspected to be behind the murder of the ICRC employee over the weekend, according to an officer, who was unable to provide further details.

Jahmaliah is controlled by pro-government forces but there is a militant presence in the area, a police officer told AFP.

But on Sunday, Taiz governor Amin Ahmad Mahmud, loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, created a special force of police and army units tasked with battling militants  he believes killed the ICRC employee on Saturday.

It was unknown if there were any casualties among the militants. 

A large portion of Yemen's third city Taiz is held by pro-government fighters, but the entrances to the city are controlled by Houthi rebels.

The Lebanese aid worker, Hanna Lahoud, was shot in Taiz by unidentified assailants.

Lahoud, who was in charge of prisoners' affairs in Yemen, was gunned down while travelling to a prison in the city.

He died of his wounds in hospital, while his colleagues in the same car were unharmed, the Red Cross said in a statement.

The aid worker was killed by multiple gunshots to the heart, according to a hospital source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The attack took place in the Zabab district of Taiz, completely shattering the back window of the car, an AFP photographer at the scene said.

In March, Yemen entered its fourth year of war between the Houthi rebels and pro-government forces backed by a Saudi-led military coalition.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which has triggered what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Militants, including from al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, have taken advantage of the chaos to expand their influence in parts of Yemen, particularly in the south.

More than 22 million people are dependent on aid and 8.4 million are on the verge of famine in Yemen.

Agencies contributed to this report.