Reuters International

By Mohammed Mukhashaf

ADEN (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed eight people and wounded a senior army commander in an attack on his convoy in eastern Yemen on Wednesday, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's state-run news agency reported.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which appeared to resemble recent bombings carried out by Islamic State or al Qaeda militants against military and security forces in southern and eastern Yemen.

A local security official said the suicide bomber targeted General Abdul-Rahman al-Halili, commander of Yemen's First Military Region, which has its headquarters in the city of Seyoun, while on a trip to inspect his forces.

The blast near the city of al-Qatan killed six members of Halili's security team and two civilians, and wounded 17 other people, including Halili, the official said.

Hadi's state news agency said Halili later visited wounded soldiers at Seyoun hospital and vowed to keep pushing to "uproot this malicious plant from our midst".

The agency had earlier reported that only three people were killed in the attack -- one soldier from Halili's security and two civilians.

Hadi supporters, backed mainly by United Arab Emirates (UAE) forces in the Saudi-led coalition, drove al Qaeda militants from the Hadramout provincial capital in a military offensive last month.

Islamist militants have exploited a civil war pitting supporters of the Saudi-backed Hadi and the Iran-allied Houthis to extend their control over areas in southern and eastern Yemen and recruit followers.

The growing militant threat has spurred U.N.-sponsored peace talks between Hadi's government and the Houthis now underway in Kuwait.

The talks are aimed at an agreement that would allow the Houthis and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to evacuate cities they control in northern Yemen and for the formation of a new, more representative government.

(Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf, writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by William Maclean and Dominic Evans)

reuters_tickers

 Reuters International