Smoke billows following air-strikes by the Saudi-led coalition on a weapons depot at a military airport, currently controlled by Yemeni Shiite Huthi rebels, in the capital Sanaa. Yemen has been wracked by conflict since March, when the Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes against the rebels as they advanced on the main southern city of Aden, after seizing the capital in September. Image Credit: AFP

Sana’a: Several bombs exploded outside a building used by the intelligence services in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden on Saturday, causing fires to break out but no casualties, a local official said blaming the blast on Al Qaida. Four people were killed in a bombing of Aden’s governor’s office in Thursday.

Aden has been at the centre of a battle between Iran-allied Al Houthi militants from Yemen’s north and supporters of the exiled government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Fighters loyal to Hadi captured Aden from Al Houthis and their allies, forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, in July after months of street battles and air strikes on Al Houthis by a Saudi-led coalition.

The intelligence offices are located near the administration offices of Aden’s port and the radio and television building, the official said.

Explosive devices had been planted on the fence of surrounding the building, he said, which was severely damaged in the blasts. He gave no further details on the identity of the bombers.

One local official, who declined to be named, said the bombing was carried out by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

“These elements have since (the start of) August destroyed or removed secret police files in Aden,” the official said.

He alleged that AQAP militants entered Yemen’s second city just weeks after it was retaken from Iran-backed Al Houthi militants in mid-July.

AQAP, which the United States says is the global extremist network’s most dangerous branch, has taken advantage of months of violence and chaos in Yemen to make territorial gains, overrunning in April the port of Mukalla, capital of the eastern Hadramout province. Meanwhile, dozens of people, mostly civilians, have been killed in fighting and air strikes by a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s third city Taiz, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Saturday.

Yemen spokeswoman Rima Kamal said the Friday violence between Iran-backed Al Houthi militants and pro-government forces had killed 80 people by late evening, adding that it was unknown if people in the city were “dead or alive under the rubble”.

“My colleague was told that by noon yesterday, there were 50 killed; in the evening it went up to 80. These are figures we are receiving from various sides,” she told AFP.

The Doctors Without Borders aid group said Friday that 65 civilians had been killed and several wounded in coalition bombing runs in Taiz’s Salah neighbourhood.

Backed by Saudi-led air strikes and support from a mainly Arab military coalition, loyalists in Yemen have made sweeping recent advances in the south against rebel fighters.

They retook second city Aden last month, and have taken four additional southern provinces in their advance towards Taiz, which is viewed as the gateway to the Al Houthi-held capital Sana’a.