Yemen’s deputy prime minister escaped an assassination attempt in which unknown militants opened fire and targeted his convoy in the country’s southern province of Lahj on Wednesday, a security official told Xinhua.
The attackers in military uniform and driving military vehicles opened fire, triggering a shootout with guards and soldiers who were protecting the Deputy PM Abdul-Aziz Jubari, said the security official in the convoy traveling in Toor Baha area of Lahj province.
The source added that the convoy was passing through a main road in Lahj province after ending a visit to neighboring Taiz province and heading back towards Aden province, the temporary capital of the country.
The unknown attackers fled the scene and Jubari escaped with no injuries among his guards.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack so far, but Yemeni security officials accused militants allied with the Shiite Houthi rebels of being behind the failed assassination attempt.
Yemen’s internationally-backed government, allied with the Saudi-led Arab military coalition, has for more than two years been battling Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels over control of the country.
The coalition began a military air campaign in March 2015 to roll back Houthi gains and reinstate exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government to the power.
The coalition also imposed air and sea blockade to prevent weapons from reaching Houthis, who had invaded the capital Sanaa militarily and seized most of the northern Yemeni provinces.
UN statistics showed more than 10,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed since the coalition intervened in the Yemeni civil war that also displaced around three million.
The impoverished Arab country is also suffering the world’s largest cholera epidemic since April, with about 5,000 cases reported every day.