A senior Saudi-backed Yemeni commander was killed last week during fighting against forces affiliated to the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council in the country’s southern Abyan province, it has been revealed.
According to reports, the commander of the 153rd Brigade of the pro-Saudi Yemeni Army was identified as Brigadier General Mohammad Salih Al-Aqili. He was considered to be among the most prominent military leaders fighting on behalf of exiled Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Al-Aqili assumed command of the brigade in succession to his brother, Ahmed Salih Al-Aqili, who was killed by a landmine in Al-Bayda province in June 2018. A third brother, Abd Al-Hadi, was also killed while fighting in Yemen.
Prior to his death, Al-Aqili was transferred to the Abyan province, specifically to the Sheikh Salem Front, to confront the STC militia in clashes in the Shakra area, located on the eastern outskirts of provincial capital Zinjibar.
Citing an Abyan-based security source, Xinuha reported that the STC forces fired a heat-seeking missile which killed the commander, along with six bodyguards.
Since last month, fighting has intensified between the Saudi-backed Islah militia and Emirati-supported fighters across southern Yemen.
Tribal-led mediation led to a three day truce between the warring factions and was implemented on Sunday for the Eid Al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. However, this was short-lived, with reports that the truce was violated yesterday by an exchange of artillery fire in Zinjibar.