A pregnant Yemen journalist has been killed in a car bombing, relatives say

SANAA, Yemen — Yemen’s internationally recognized government said Wednesday that a pregnant journalist has been killed in a car explosion in the southern city of Aden.

The Journalists Syndicate said in a statement that 46-year-old April Mattan, a trained nurse, had been covering the funeral of a colleague when the explosion hit a minibus taking her to the hospital.

“She was an icon in the field, a witness to the events in her country,” said Mustafa Lutfia, head of the Syndicate.

A statement from the government said the attack has been claimed by “a terrorist group calling itself the Aden Operation.”

However, Mohammad al-Yumnaifi, the director of Qom Hospital, said he had not received a request for the transportation of Mattan to the hospital.

Mattan was one of the founding members of a satirical press corps known as the Shabab al-Arab, or the Arab CNN.

She also previously worked for Al-Riyadh and Newsweek’s Arabia Eye.

Mediators on Wednesday announced a cease-fire between government and Huthi rebels in Yemen’s third largest city of Taiz to allow the evacuation of an estimated 1,000 wounded residents.

The cease-fire, if followed by a safe passage for the wounded to reach the United Nations medical facilities in Aden, will mark a major breakthrough.

“We are aware of the cessation of hostilities in Taiz city and will be monitoring the event through the Ministry of Defense and in coordination with the Yemeni Ministry of Health,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

The United Nations and Yemeni government have been engaged in negotiations for more than a month to end fighting in Taiz. Both sides in the conflict in the country’s third largest city had recently agreed to temporary cease-fires to allow evacuations for wounded civilians and aid to enter the city.

The Taiz city cease-fire comes a day after Yemen’s government called on its military forces in the country’s north and west to step up to help protect civilians and aid convoys.

Yemen’s long and brutal war erupted in 2014, when Shiite rebels known as Houthis overran the capital Sanaa and drove President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi from power. The Houthis hold the north and much of the country’s mountainous terrain, with the government controlling only the southern and western areas.

The Saudi-led coalition that intervened in Yemen’s war in 2015 with airstrikes has since been pounded by almost daily Houthi-claimed missile attacks and alleged human rights violations.

Clashes between the Houthis and government forces have escalated in recent weeks, with the rebels capturing areas near the Red Sea coast and the port city of Aden.

Yemen is now teetering on the brink of famine, with millions of people facing starvation. The U.N. says it needs $4.4 billion to feed 5.4 million people through next June.

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