At least 19 Saudi-led forces loyal to Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi have been killed in an al-Qaeda attack on a base in Yemen’s southern province of Abyan.
The al-Qaeda militants remained inside the base for several hours before being pushed back by Saudi-led militia and airstrikes on Friday, according to three security officials speaking to AFP.
Many other pro-Hadi troops were also wounded in the militant attack.
The assault comes as numerous reports said that Saudi Arabia’s four-year devastating war against Yemen, with the announced the goal of installing former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in power, largely enabled al-Qaeda to operate freely in the country.
Probes done by various groups said the Saudi-led coalition had forged secret alliances with the al-Qaeda terrorists, providing them with weapons and finances under the green light of Washington.
According to a CNN report earlier this year, Saudi Arabia and its main accomplice in the war on Yemen, the UAE, have used US-manufactured weapons as “a form of currency” to buy the loyalties of armed militia in the country, many of which are openly aligned with al-Qaeda.
Moreover, a probe conducted by The Associated Press last year called into question the Saudis’ claims about victories against al-Qaeda militants, suggesting that the notorious terror group is effectively cooperating with the US, Saudi Arabia and its allies in Yemen.
The Saudi-led campaign in Yemen has so far seriously damaged the infrastructure, with local Yemeni sources have put the death toll from the Saudi war at more than 60,000, including many women and children.
On Thursday, Yemeni forces — led by the Houthi Ansarullah movement — inflicted heavy losses on Saudi-led forces as a retaliatory attack by targeting a military parade in the port city of Aden using a Qasef K2 drone and a medium-range ballistic missile.
The Saudi-owned Al Arabiya al-Hadath channel put the number of those killed at 40.
Senior military commander Brigadier General Munir Yafa’i and other senior Saudi-backed commanders were also reportedly among the casualties.