Dozens of soldiers killed by missile fire in Yemen

At least 83 government soldiers killed in attack attributed to Houthi rebels east of the capital, Sanaa, after months of relative calm in Yemen, the poorest country in the war-torn Arabian peninsula five years old. The attack, one of the deadliest against government soldiers, targeted a camp mosque on Saturday, January 18, in Marib province east of Sanaa, doctors and military officials reported on Sunday.

The victims were transported to the hospital in the town of Marib, the capital of the province of the same name, where medical and military sources announced a new death toll of 83 soldiers killed and 148 injured. An initial assessment of 70 dead and 50 wounded has been revised upwards after the death of many wounded, said the sources, saying that the attack had been launched by the Houthis. They have not claimed it at this stage. The military camp mosque was targeted by a missile and then by a drone, said a military source.

The mosque was targeted by a missile and then by a drone, said a government military source. Saudi-owned Al-Hadath television showed what it claimed to be images of the mosque devastated by the attack with traces of blood on the walls. Human remains littered the carpets, which were soaked with blood in the middle of pieces of metal frame collapsed from the roof.

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The attack comes after a government forces offensive against the rebels in the Nihm area, north of Sanaa, said the officials. The offensive is taking place with the support of the Saudi-led coalition operating in Yemen against Iranian-backed rebels.

"Iran's instrument in the region"

President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi also accused the Houthis of being responsible for the attack, which he described as "Coward and terrorist", according to the official Saba agency. His government – recognized by the international community and supported by a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia – has been at war with the rebels since 2014, the year in which they captured the capital, Sanaa, and much of northern Yemen.

"This shameful action by the Houthi militia confirms that the latter has no peaceful intention, that it only wants death and destruction and that it is the instrument of Iran in the region", accused President Hadi. The Houthis did not claim responsibility for the attack. The head of state called for "Raise the level of vigilance" forces loyal to the government.

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The attack ends a period of declining military activity, which was noted on Thursday by the United Nations envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths. "Since the beginning of January, there have been nine days without any air strikes" in Yemen, said the envoy, who reported on the situation in Yemen to the Security Council on Thursday. The United Nations is struggling to make a real breakthrough towards peace in Yemen.

An agreement signed in 2018 in Sweden, under the aegis of the international organization, allowed a de-escalation in the strategic port city of Hodeida (southwest of Yemen) but all its clauses have not been applied.

According to various humanitarian organizations, the conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, since Riyadh’s intervention in 2015 led the coalition. About 3.3 million people are still displaced and 24.1 million, more than two-thirds of the population, are in need of assistance, according to the United Nations (UN), which regularly describes the conflict in Yemen as worst humanitarian crisis in the world.


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