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Coalition closes Yemen airports, ports temporarily

People walk past a cargo ship unloading wheat at the Red Sea port of Hodeida, Yemen October 1, 2017. (Reuters)

The Arab coalition closed off the land, sea and air ports in Yemen early Monday after a missile targeted Riyadh, hours after an ISIS-claimed militant attack in Aden killed at least 17 people.

In a statement, the coalition accused Iran of supplying Houthi militias and their allies with the missile launched on Saturday toward the Saudi capital’s international airport.

The coalition’s statement said the closures would be temporary and “take into account” the work of humanitarian and aid organizations.

Meanwhile in Aden, masked militants claimed by an ISIS affiliate set off a large car bomb outside a security headquarters in Yemen’s southern port city early Sunday, killing at least 17 people before storming the compound, officials said. Fighting continued well into the night.

Speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters, the security officials said the militants placed snipers on the roof and gunned down most of the security forces inside. The officials gave conflicting accounts of what happened next inside the building. They initially said that the militants had taken an unknown number of people hostage. Later they said that they opened cell gates and released prisoners.

Security forces backed by an Apache helicopter continued to fight for control of the installation after nightfall, chasing down militants in the surrounding structures and neighborhood. Some hostages were killed, they added, without providing specific figures. They said at least five soldiers were among the dead.

Witnesses said at least four militant snipers could be seen on the roof of the compound. They also described mayhem as dead bodies littering the compound’s front courtyard couldn’t be retrieved because of the continuous sniper fire. Shallal al-Shayae, the security chief, was not inside the compound at the time of the attack, the officials said.

In an online statement, the local affiliate of the ISIS group claimed responsibility for the attack saying they killed 50 soldiers and identified the bomber as Abu Othman al-Hadrami.

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Last Update: Monday, 6 November 2017 KSA 03:58 - GMT 00:58
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