Yemen: 30 Soldiers Killed In Houthi Attacks
At least 30 soldiers have been killed and 60 wounded in Houthi attacks on an Al-Anad military base this August 29, a spokesman for Yemen’s southern forces, Mohamed al-Naqeeb has said. The death toll may rise as rescuers are still scouring the scene and it is unclear if there are civilian casualties.
Victims are part of the pro-government Giants Brigades, backed by the United Arab Emirates and the base belongs to the forces of the Saudi-led coalition in the government-held southern province of Lahij.
The attack was carried out using armed drones and ballistic missiles further added the spokesman.
As Reuters reports, a ballistic missile landed in the base’s training area, where dozens of soldiers were doing morning exercises. After the strike, soldiers carried wounded colleagues to safety fearing another attack.
Residents nearby said several blasts were heard in the area, and residents from the disputed central city of Taiz said they heard ballistic missiles fired from launchers positioned in the Houthi-held eastern suburbs of the city. The military spokesman for the Houthis has not confirmed or denied the assault.
Long-time war and worst humanitarian crisis
The Yemeni war has been going on since 2014 between the internationally recognized government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi backed by a Saudi-led military coalition and the Iran-allied Houthis when the rebels seized the capital, Sanaa.
The conflict, now stalemated, has killed around 130,000 people and caused the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. According to UNICEF, 21 million people need humanitarian assistance, including more than 11 million children. Nearly 2.3 million children under five are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021, and of those 400,000 could die if they do not receive urgent treatment.
Although the Houthis have not directly claimed responsibility for yesterday’s strafe, it is being widely reported that they are the perpetrators. Back in 2019, they claimed to have launched a drone attack on Al-Anad during a military parade with six dead.
It is worth mentioning that Al-Anad, 60km north of Yemen’s second city Aden, was the headquarters for US troops overseeing a drone war against al-Qaeda until March 2014 when it was overrun by the Houthi rebels. It was recaptured by government forces in August 2015 as they recovered territory from the fighters across the south with support from the Saudi-led coalition.
Houthis also launched a missile strike on the airport in the southern city of Aden in December as government officials arrived, which killed at least 25 people and wounded 110 others, as AP’s Ahmed Al-haj and Samy Magdy report.
Sunday’s attack came at a time when peace talks between the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis, and backed by the United Nations and the United States, have held back after failing to reach a deal. The talks are focused on how to lift a blockade on Houthi-held ports and Sanaa airport in return to hold truce talks. “This terrorist attack affirms once again the continuation of Houthi militia in the approach of military escalation”, has expressed Information Minister Moammar al-Iryani on Twitter.
Yemen’s President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and promised that the Houthis will pay “heavily for all the crimes committed against the people of Yemen.”
Currently, Houthi rebels are suffering heavy resistance in their months-long attempt to take the crucial city of Marib from the recognized Yemeni government and thousands have been killed, according to some news reports.
There seems impossible to have a near-future end to the Yemen civil war. As senior UN official and Assistant Secretary-General for Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific, Khaled Khiari says: “it is imperative to resume an inclusive, Yemeni-led political process to reach a negotiated solution to the conflict.”
All efforts must be put to effectively start the 2015 peace plan, which calls for a nationwide ceasefire, the reopening of Sana’a airport, the easing of restrictions on fuel and goods flowing through Hudaydah port, and face-to-face political negotiations.