Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), viewed by Washington as the extremist network’s most risky branch, has taken advantage of the chaos to seize the southern port city of Mukalla, capital of the vast desert Hadramawt province.
The authorities could not immediately identify the perpetrators, the security officials said.
No group claimed responsibility for the killings but Islamic State-affiliated militants have carried out such slayings in the past.
The attacks underscore the fragility of Yemen’s government despite hundreds of air strikes from Gulf Arab states. “They destroyed all five cranes and totally disabled the container terminal”, said the head of the national ports management on the Red Sea, Yahya Sharaf Abbas.
The air raids came as the Shiite rebels, mostly stationing on the entrances of Taiz, intensively shelled several neighborhoods in the city, apparently targeting their Saudi-backed foes loyal to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The Saudi-led alliance began its air strikes in late March when the Shia Houthis entered Aden.
On Wednesday, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned about the humanitarian situation in Yemen, saying children are bearing the brunt of Saudi aggression against Yemenis with an average of eight kids getting killed every day in the ongoing airstrikes against the Arab country.
Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners are facing yet another round of condemnation today after an airstrike against northern Yemen’s Amran Province killed 17 civilians, including 13 teachers and four children.
There is no sign that the warring parties intend to end the civil war, as UN humanitarian agencies have recorded at least 6,221 civilian casualties, including at least 1,950 civilians killed and 4,271 wounded, and over one million displaced in almost five months of civil war.
Southern Yemeni militias and loyalist army units have scored major gains against the Houthis in the last month and may soon advance toward their stronghold around Sanaa.