Gunmen kill Yemen intelligence officer: security source

Armed Yemeni tribesmen from the Popular Resistance Committees, supporting forces loyal to Yemen's Saudi-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, drive their vehicle as they hold a position in the area of Sirwah, west of Marib city, December 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Abdullah al-Qadry)

Aden (AFP) - Assailants shot dead a senior Yemeni intelligence officer in Marib city east of the capital Sanaa on Friday, a security source said.

Commander Jarallah Salhi was gunned down in the centre of the city controlled by forces loyal to the government in the conflict against Iran-backed Shiite Huthi rebels.

The officer had actively taken part in the battle for Marib dam, southeast of the city backed by a Saudi-led coalition.

The Huthis seized Sanaa last year and then advanced south to the second city of Aden, forcing President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia.

Loyalists of Hadi, who returned to Aden last month, have gained the upper hand in oil-rich Marib province and are now trying to advance on the rebel-held capital.