Yemeni security forces inspect vehicles at a checkpoint in Mukalla, the capital of Yemen's southeastern Hadramawt province. Image Credit: AFP

Al Mukalla: A bomb killed four policemen on Wednesday in Yemen’s second city Aden, where militants have repeatedly targeted security forces, a security official said.

Another six officers were wounded in the blast in the southern port city where the Saudi-backed government has its base, the official told AFP.

A separate security officer speaking to Gulf News put the number of soldiers killed at three, with an additional three wounded.

The official said that Al Qaida suspected operative standing near the checkpoint threw a bomb hidden inside a plastic bag.

“The bomb went off when soldiers gathered at a checkpoint after having lunch in Mansoura district,” the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to brief reporters.

Aden’s chief security Major General Shalal Ali Shaye visited the injured soldiers in a local hospital and vowed to hunt down the perpetrators. On Friday, a suicide bombing claimed by Al Qaida hit the convoy of Aden governor Aidarus Al Zubaidi, wounding three people travelling with him.

The militants also claimed two suicide bombings on Monday that killed 11 people in two of their former strongholds in the southeast.

Earlier this year, the Saudi-led coalition launched a major offensive against Al Qaida, helping to recapture the Hadramout provincial capital of Al Mukalla in April after a year of Al Qaida rule.

Coalition forces had previously focused their guns on Iran-backed Al Houthi militants and their allies who control the capital Sana’a and much of the north and centre, creating a power vacuum that Al Qaida and Daesh have exploited.

A year after Arab coalition forces drove Al Houthis out of the strategic city, government forces are in full control of the city despite these sporadic attacks by Daesh and Al Qaida.

Armed militants groups had been widely seen roaming around the city after liberation until government forces, mainly trained by the UAE military officers in Aden, took charge of security and began raiding militants’ hideouts. The security campaigns have resulted in a significant drop in daily drive-by shootings that target security personnel.

Meanwhile, in the city of Taiz, local activists told Gulf News that at least 20 Al Houthis were killed in fierce clashes with army troops and resistance fighters on Tuesday.

Zakara Al Shara’bi, a pro-government journalist who records Al Houthi casualties in the city, said that 12 rebels fighters were killed in Al Shagab region and eight others were killed in clashes in Bata’a region in Taiz.

Al Shara’bi said that two government forces were killed and eight injured in the same battles.

Residents also reported ntensified air strikes by the Arab coalition on an Al Houthi military post.

Observers link the surge in Al Houthis military operations across the country to the current peace talks in Kuwait as the rebels seek to make more territorial gains to pressure the internationally recognised government to make major concessions.

In the northern province of Jawf, Al Houthis and their allied forces loyal to the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh launched an attack on army positions in the Al Ghayl district.

-with inputs from AFP

For months, the rebels have failed to recapture major cities in the province despite several attempts.