The death of a fourth military officer from Bahrain’s unit fighting alongside Riyadh-led forces in Yemen against the Houthi rebels was reported on Friday night. The officer had suffered wounds in an earlier this week attack on Saudi Arabia.
In the past, Bahrain had claimed the deaths of three of its soldiers stationed close to the Saudi-Yemen border, blaming their demise to drone attacks conducted by rebels allied with Iran.
The General Command of the Bahrain Defense Force mourned “First-Lieutenant Hamad Khalifa al-Kubaisi … who succumbed to his severe injuries as a result of the treacherous Houthi attack that took place last Monday.”
The attack occurred “while the martyr was carrying out his sacred national duty as part of the coalition forces, the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen, participating in operations of ‘Restoring Hope’ and stationed on the southern borders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Bahrain, a neighboring country to Saudi Arabia, is a member of the military coalition led by Riyadh since 2015 in support of the Yemeni government against the Houthi rebels, who are backed by Iran.
Saudi Arabia, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and the United Nations have all condemned the attack. Washington, London, and Manama specifically attributed the attack to the Houthi rebels. However, no party has officially claimed responsibility for the attack, and the Houthis have not issued any comments regarding it.
This escalation comes at a time when peace talks between Riyadh and the Houthi rebels are intensifying. Both sides have described the talks as “serious and positive” following a public visit by a Houthi delegation to Saudi Arabia earlier this month, which lasted for five days.
In April, a Saudi delegation’s visit to Sanaa, in conjunction with recent rapprochement between Riyadh and Tehran, raised hopes for a political solution to the protracted conflict in the poorest country in the Arabian Peninsula.
Fighting in Yemen has notably decreased since a UN-brokered ceasefire went into effect in April 2022. Despite the expiration of the ceasefire’s effects in October 2022, combat operations have largely remained subdued.
Yemen has been embroiled in a power struggle between the Houthi rebels and the government since mid-2014, leading to the deaths and injuries of hundreds of thousands of people and creating one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, according to United Nations estimates.