This content was published on Jun 10, 2021 – 20:36.
ADEN (Reuters) – At least eight people have died in the explosions that rocked the Yemeni city of Marib, which the information minister said were missile and unmanned strikes by Houthi forces attempting to take over the gas-rich region.
Minister Muammar al-Iriani tweeted that the Houthis fired two ballistic missiles and two armed drones and hit a mosque, a commercial center and a women’s correctional facility, as well as ambulances rushing to the scene.
He gave an initial death toll of eight, including women, and said 27 were injured. Two medical sources told Reuters that five were killed and more than 15 were injured in the hospital.
There was no confirmation from the Iranian-linked Houthi movement, which launched an offensive to capture the last stronghold of the internationally recognized government in the north of the country of the Arabian Peninsula.
An army spokesman previously told Al Hadath TV that the missiles hit a residential area and a commercial market. He said the Houthis launched two drones, but one was shot down and the other exploded in mid-air.
“These are the strongest explosions we have heard in Marib in four years,” resident Abdulsalam Galeb told Reuters.
Earlier this month, at least 17 people were killed in an explosion near a gas station in Marib. The government blamed the Houthi missile for it, but the group said it hit a military camp.
“This (Thursday) dangerous escalation confirms that the Houthi terrorist militia does not understand the language of dialogue and does not believe in peace,” Iriani said, referring to the UN-sponsored peace effort.
Yemen has been engulfed in violence since the Houthis ousted the Saudi-backed government from the capital of Sana’a in late 2014, prompting a Saudi-led military coalition to intervene months later.
On Thursday, the coalition said it had destroyed a Houthi drone fired towards southern Saudi Arabia, state television reported in the latest frequent cross-border attacks.
The United Nations, backed by the United States, is pushing for a ceasefire and an end to the Houthi offensive in Marib, home to some 1 million internally displaced people.
He also called on the coalition to lift sea and air restrictions on territories held by the Houthis, who claim to be fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.
The conflict, viewed in the region as a puppet war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has caused what the United Nations considers to be the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.
(Reporting by Mohammed Gobari in Aden and Alaa Swilam and Ahmed Toba in Cairo; text by Guyda Gantous; editing by Mark Heinrich, Grant McCool and Jonathan Oatis)