Yemen‘s ministers of interior and transport have survived an assassination attempt in the southern province of Shabwah, just hours after an initial deal between the country’s internationally recognised government and the southern separatist group.
Reports said Interior Minister Ahmed Al-Maisari who also serves as the deputy prime minister, and Transport Minister Saleh Al-Jabwani were reportedly targeted in the car bomb on Monday near their homes in the provincial capital of Ataq.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The city of Ataq has been temporarily designated as the capital of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi‘s government, which was booted out by the Houthis from the country’s capital Sanaa in 2014, and later from the port of Aden by the separatist Southern Transitional Council originally supported by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
UAE eventually withdrew its military presence in Yemen, allowing Saudi Arabia to consolidate its control of the southern part of the country.
A leaked draft of the Saudi-brokered deal stipulates that Yemen’s southern separatists would be part of a new cabinet of Hadi’s government.
The separatists would be given half of the ministerial roles, provided they are not involved in any fighting in agreed areas of Aden, Abyan and Shabwah.
The deal would also unite all forces from the southern transitional council and the government under the ministry of defence within 60 days.
Riyadh has sought to make fighting the Houthis on its border the coalition’s first priority. The Houthis have repeatedly launched missiles and drone attacks on Saudi cities during the conflict.
The kingdom has in recent weeks increased its military presence in southern Yemen, bringing in additional troops, armoured vehicles, tanks and other military equipment.
It took control of Aden earlier this month after the UAE withdrew some of its forces from the city.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, William Lawrence, professor at the George Washington University’s Eliott School of International Affairs, warned there might be more violence in the near future despite the initial deal.
“It’s not finalised yet and the main way to see it there are spoilers on all sides, including the two sides signing it,” he said.