ADEN, Yemen, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Yemen's Vice President Major General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar survived a mortar shell attack that targeted his convoy in the country's northern province of Marib on Wednesday, a military official told Xinhua.
The military official based in Aden, who asked to remain anonymous, said that mortar shell attack targeted the vice president's convoy while he was heading with other military commanders to inspect pro-government army bases in Marib province.
The attack was launched by Houthis and resulted in the killing of Brigadier Gen. Mohamed Saleh Ahmar, the vice president's son-in-law who was also working as the military attaché of Yemen's embassy in Bahrain.
"Houthis deliberately wanted to assassinate the vice president by targeting his site with shells but the attack failed and only an army commander was killed and some bodyguards were seriously injured," the source said.
Several local media outlets revealed reports that an explosion struck the convoy of the vice president after he finished holding a meeting with military commanders about the ongoing anti-Houthi operations in the country.
The country's official Saba News Agency based in Saudi Arabia denied that the convoy was attacked but acknowledged that Brigadier Gen. Mohamed Saleh Ahmar died as a result of a bomb explosion during an army drill.
Yemen's President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi based in the southern port city of Aden recently conducted a phone call with the vice president and offered his condolences, according to Saba.
Meanwhile, the Iranian-backed Houthis claimed responsibility for launching an attack saying they killed a prominent military commander of the Saudi-backed Yemeni government in Marib.
The Houthi-affiliated Masirah television channel reported that the rebel group attacked a refinery of the Saudi oil company Aramco in the capital Riyadh using a new locally-manufactured drone.
A statement revealed by Masirah TV said that the pro-Houthi air forces targeted the refinery of Aramco company in Riyadh with a new long-range drone "Samad 2" for the first time.
Aramco said a brief statement posted on Twitter that a limited blaze erupted in the early evening in its refinery in Riyadh, saying that the Saudi civil defense teams managed to contain the fire.
The Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen repeatedly asserted that sophisticated weaponry technology such as drones and long-range ballistic missiles come from Iran through the Houthi-controlled port of Hodeidah on the Red Sea coast.
Local observers said that the latest Houthi attacks that targeted Yemen's vice president convoy and oil facilities in Saudi Arabia may undermine the upcoming negotiations over Hodeidah.
In Hodeidah, the Houthis launched a wide-scale military attack on Wednesday morning against government-controlled areas in the province, sparking fierce armed confrontations between the two-warring sides.
Helicopter apaches of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) operating as part of the Saudi-led coalition intervened and shelled the Houthi fighters near Hodeidah district of Tuhyata recently seized by pro-government forces.
Local residents told Xinhua by phone saying that about seven civilians were killed including women when random mortar shells fired by Houthis landed on their homes in Hodeidah's district of Durayhmi.
On June 13, the Arab coalition, backing internationally-recognized government of Yemen's President Hadi, declared a major assault to recapture Hodeidah and the Yemeni western Red Sea coast from the Houthis.
Yemen's government and Saudi Arabia have repeatedly accused the Houthis of using the port to smuggle Iranian weapons. Both Houthis and Iran denied the accusation.
Humanitarian agencies have warned of any attack on the port, saying it would lead to the world's biggest humanitarian catastrophe in modern history.
Hodeidah is the single most important point of entry for food and basic supplies to Yemen's northern provinces controlled by Houthis, including the capital Sanaa.
More than 121,000 residents have fled the war-torn city of Hodeidah and other parts of the province since June 1, according the United Nations reports.
The coalition intervened in Yemen's conflict in March 2015 to roll back Iran-allied Shiite Houthi rebels and reinstate Hadi.