Houthi strike on Yemen govt’s last stronghold kills five

Published January 29, 2022
FIGHTERS from the UAE-trained ‘giants brigade’ gather on the outskirts of Ataq, east of Yemen’s Aden port, on Friday.—AFP
FIGHTERS from the UAE-trained ‘giants brigade’ gather on the outskirts of Ataq, east of Yemen’s Aden port, on Friday.—AFP

ADEN: At least five people were killed and 34 injured in what Yemeni-government media said was a Houthi missile strike on Marib city on Wednesday night, state news agency SABA said on Friday.

A resident and a medical source said a missile on Wednesday had fallen next to a military building in the al-Matar area.

Marib city is the Yemeni government’s last northern stronghold. It sits in an energy-producing region which has been the focus of fighting over the past year, during which Iran-aligned Houthi forces advanced towards the city.

According to Reuters, the fighting for Marib has dashed UN-led ceasefire efforts as both sides ramped up military operations.

Aid agency Save the Children late on Thursday said 28 civilians had been killed or injured and that international law must be respected in Yemen’s seven-year conflict.

“Civilians must be spared the horrors of ongoing fighting,” it said in a Twitter post.

In the past few weeks the Houthis have launched a number of missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, which leads a coalition backing the government’s fight against the Houthis, and two unprecedented attacks on the United Arab Emirates, a coalition member.

The Saudi-led coalition has in recent weeks stepped up air strikes on Houthi areas in Yemen, including on a detention centre which killed around 90 people.

Strategically vital city

Meanwhile, a United Arab Emirates-trained militia that delivered a series of defeats to Yemen’s rebels has begun withdrawing from a key area of the conflict, it announced on Friday.

The Giants Brigades said it was repositioning its forces after driving the rebels out of Shabwa province and beginning a push north towards Marib, the strategically vital city that the rebels have been trying to capture for months.

The surprise announcement followed two drone-and-missile attacks by the Houthi rebels on the UAE, the first of which killed three oil workers.

“After the great success achieved by the Giants Brigades... it began transferring its brigades to the main headquarters,” said a statement.

“The Brigades repositioned its forces in Shabwa governorate after liberating the districts of Bihan and Harib and securing them completely from the Houthi militia,” it added.

The Giants Brigades, fighting as part of the Saudi-led pro-government coalition, dealt a serious blow to the Houthi campaign after moving into Shabwa.

The fighters were sent from their base on the Red Sea coast “to support the Yemeni government in its battle on all fronts”, the coalition said on November 15.

After driving the rebels out of Shabwa, they also took Harib district in Marib province and looked set to press on towards Marib city, the government’s last northern holdout that has been under rebel pressure for months.

Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2022



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