Thursday, December 2

Missile and drone strike kills at least 30 in southern Yemen | Yemen


A missile and drone attack on a key military base in southern Yemen killed at least 30 soldiers, a Yemeni military spokesman said. It was one of the deadliest attacks in the country’s civil war in recent years.

Mohammed al-Naqib, a spokesman for Yemen’s southern forces, said Sunday’s attack on al-Anad air base in Lahj province wounded at least 65. He said the death toll could rise as the Rescue teams were still clearing the site.

Footage from the scene showed several charred bodies on the ground with ambulance sirens blaring in the background.

Yemeni officials said that at least three explosions occurred at the air base, which is in the hands of the internationally recognized government. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Yemen has been embroiled in civil war since 2014, when Houthi rebels swept through much of the north and seized the capital Sana’a, forcing the internationally recognized government into exile. The Saudi-led coalition entered the war the following year on the government’s side.

A ballistic missile landed in the base’s training area, where dozens of soldiers were doing morning exercises, officials said. Doctors described a chaotic scene after the blasts, with soldiers carrying their wounded colleagues to safety, fearing another attack.

Private Nasser Saeed survived that attack. He was taken along with other injured people to the Naqib hospital in Aden. He said a barracks housing more than 50 soldiers had been hit by missiles, then explosives-laden drones.

“We were able to shoot down one [drone], “he said.” Many died and were injured. “

Most of the injured were taken to nearby Ibn Khaldun Hospital, where health officials said many of them were in critical condition and had third-degree burns.

Officials blamed the Houthis for the attack on the base, which was once the site of US intelligence operations against the powerful Yemeni affiliate of al-Qaida. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to report to the media.

The victims belong to the pro-government Giant Brigades, backed by the United Arab Emirates. The unit said in a statement that the attack involved several explosive-laden ballistic missiles and drones. The UAE is a main pillar of the Saudi-led coalition.

The Houthis’ military spokesman neither confirmed nor denied the attack, which bore the stamp of the Iranian-backed rebels. The Houthis have previously launched similar attacks, including one with a bomb-laden drone in al-Anad in January 2019 that killed six soldiers.

Iranian-backed rebels also launched a missile attack on the airport in the southern city of Aden in December when government officials arrived. That attack killed at least 25 people and injured 110 others.

The Houthis had seized the al-Anad base in the months after taking Sana’a in 2014, before government forces took it back during the battle to reverse the rebel gains.

Moammar al-Iryani, the Information Minister, said the attack would undermine international efforts to establish a ceasefire in Yemen. “This terrorist attack affirms once again that the continuation of the Houthi militia in the approach of the military escalation,” he wrote on Twitter.

Sunday’s attack on the base came as the Houthi rebels met stiff resistance and suffered heavy losses in their months-long attempt to take the crucial city of Marib from the internationally recognized government. Thousands of fighters, mostly Houthis, have died in Marib in recent months.

The Houthi offensive in Marib, combined with an increase in drone attacks loaded with missiles and explosives against Saudi Arabia, has come amid growing international efforts to halt the fighting and relaunch talks between the warring parties to put end the war in the poorest country in the Arab world.

The stalled conflict in Yemen has killed more than 130,000 people and sparked the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.


www.theguardian.com

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