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Gulf troops dead in Yemen rocket attack, sources

Saudi troops have been engaged in heavy fighting with Houthi rebels [AFP]

Date of publication: 14 December, 2015

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Gulf soldiers, including an Emirati, have been killed in Yemen according to media reports as fighting between Houthis and pro-Hadi forces continues.

A Saudi commander in the Gulf's Yemen task force has been killed in battle, a Yemeni government official has told Anadolu news agency's Arabic service.

Reports on social media said that a Houthi rocket attack hit a military base in Yemen's Bab al-Mandeb region, west of the country, killing a number of senior figures in the Gulf-led force.

Early reports suggested that among the dead were 23 Saudis, nine UAE troops and seven Moroccan soldiers, although the claims could not be verfied.

UAE's state news agency reported on Monday morning that one of its citizens had been killed in fighting. 

"The General Command of the UAE Armed Forces today announced the death of martyr Sultan Mohammed Ali Al Ketbi, while taking part in the Saudi-led Arab Coalition's Operation Restoring Hope in Yemen," the statement read.

No information was given about Ketbi's rank, his military unit or where he died.

Social media reports said that rockets fired at a military base destroyed military hardware including helicopters and vehicles.

A commander of Saudi's special forces in Yemen was also named as a victim in the attack although this is yet to be verified. 

Social media users said that he had been presented with a medal for valor by the Yemeni president just two days earlier with images of an officer.

Further reports said that Houthi rebels had carried out a number of missile attacks inside Syria and in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

The Shia-Zaydi group has been engaged in heavy fighting with Gulf forces and fighters loyal to Yemeni president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Over the past year, the Houthi militants have fired a number of rockets into Saudi territory killing civilians in bordering towns.

In September a rocket hit a UAE military camp in Yemen killing 53 soldiers.

Saudi and other Gulf Cooperation Council militaries - excluding Oman - have been engaged in air and ground offensives against Houthi rebels. 

Militants from the group captured the Yemeni capital Sanaa in 2014 and expanded their presence elsewhere in the country. 

They were unable to capture the southern city of Aden, which was used as a base for a Gulf forces and pro-Hadi forces to launch a counter-offensive.

After early successes, the military campaign has stalled in recent weeks.

The Gulf force has backed pro-Hadi forces and southern militias as they seek to retake the Yemeni capital from the Houthis.

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