Manama: Qatar on Wednesday said that one of its soldiers fighting in Yemen has been killed.
Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Mohammad Al Attiyah announced the death Wednesday on Twitter, without identifying the soldier or saying how or when he was killed.
“Qatar’s armed forces today announced the martyrdom of soldier Mohammad Hamed Sulaiman as he was performing his duty within the Arab Coalition Restore Hope Operation in Yemen,” a statement carried by Qatar News Agency (QNA) said later.
According to Qatari portal Al Sharq, Sulaiman was a member of the Special Forces unit and had topped his class in infantry and was among the best soldiers in the fitness tests.
Sulaiman topped the 47th training session and was a member of the athletics team.
“He always took initiatives and he was outstanding and brave,” his friends were quoted as saying. “He was well known for his good nature and for his dedication to his duties.”
Yemen’s fighting pits the Iran-backed Al Houthi militants and allied army units against forces loyal to the internationally recognised government, as well as southern separatists.
The Saudi-led force joined the fighting in March, backing the internationally recognised government. Its partners have suffered casualties, such as in a September missile attack that killed 52 Emirati troops, 10 soldiers from Saudi Arabia and five from Bahrain.
On the ground in Yemen, pro-government forces on Wednesday killed 13 Al Houthi militants in an ambush in Yemen’s south after the militants took back several positions in the area, a military source said.
The Al Houthis were travelling in two military vehicles south of Damt, the Dhaleh province’s second-largest city, which they and their allies recaptured on Saturday.
Forces loyal to President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi attacked them with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, the source said.
The loyalists, backed by Saudi-led coalition strikes, supplies and troops, pushed the militia out of Dhaleh and four other southern provinces in July.
But the militants this weekend recaptured several positions in the south.
Battles continued in the area Wednesday as the militants were trying to advance on Dhaleh’s provincial capital, which carries the same name, the military source said.
Other fighting flared in Al Madaribah on the border between the neighbouring Lahj and Taiz provinces, leaving five militants and three loyalist fighters dead over the past 24 hours, military sources said.
The coalition, formed in March to halt the militants’ advance across Yemen, has dispatched military reinforcements to Al Madaribah to prevent it falling to militant hands, the sources said.
Late Tuesday Al Houthi militants fired Katyusha rockets at regional military headquarters held by loyalist troops in the oil-rich Marib province east of Sana’a without causing casualties, a military source there said.
Around 5,000 people have been killed in the conflict since March, more than half of them civilians, according to UN estimates.
A new round of UN-brokered Yemen talks to end the conflict is expected to kick off in Geneva or Muscat around mid-November.
- With inputs from AFP