UNITED NATIONS - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led Coalition on a mobile health clinic run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Taiz city, Yemen, which injured seven people and destroyed the clinic.

“The Secretary-General underscores that medical facilities and medical personnel are explicitly protected under international humanitarian law. He calls for a prompt, effective and impartial investigation into today’s incident,” a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York said.

The secretary-general had condemned an earlier incident on 27 October during which a hospital run by MSF in Sa’ada province was hit by airstrikes.

“The Secretary-General reminds all parties of the utmost necessity to respect their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law to prevent attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure,” the statement added.

Reuters adds: Al Qaeda militants, who fought their way into the southern Yemeni town of Jaar, have withdrawn and police are back in control, although the Islamist fighters remain in the nearby town of Zinjibar, residents said on Thursday.

The militants, who belong to a local affiliate of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) known as Ansar al-Sharia, took over Jaar in an early morning surprise attack, exploiting the collapse of central authority in Yemen’s civil war.

It was the second time in four years they had captured the town, in the province of Abyan about 50 km (30 miles) east of the port city of Aden. They withdrew hours later, after blowing up the house of the commander of a local tribal militia group, the residents said. About a dozen fighters from both sides were killed in the attack, which came as a Saudi-led coalition is trying to defeat Yemen’s Houthis, who captured large parts of the country from President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi over the last year.

Hadi who only recently returned to Aden from exile.

In Zinjibar, about 10 km (6 miles) south of Jaar, residents said that al Qaeda fighters had also briefly deployed on the streets on Wednesday before returning to their compound. The militants have long had a presence in the town, the provincial capital of Abyan, without fully controlling it, they said.

They described the al Qaeda force as mostly local tribesmen who had helped fend off attempts by the Iran-allied Houthis to advance in the area earlier this year.

Jaar residents said on Thursday that the militants withdrew quietly from the town and regrouped at an old ammunition factory 25-30 km (15-20 miles) away.