Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 April 2020

UAE and Saudi Arabia condemn Houthis after attack kills 100 Yemeni soldiers

Assault follows months of relative calm in conflict between rebels and government

Yemeni government soldiers on manoeuvres in Marib province in January 2018. EPA
Yemeni government soldiers on manoeuvres in Marib province in January 2018. EPA

The UAE and Saudi Arabia on Monday condemned a missile attack launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels that killed more than 100 soldiers.

The missile struck a mosque in Al Estiqbal military training camp in Marib, a city held by the internationally recognised government of President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi, as people gathered for prayer, medical sources said.

A second missile hit a munitions store. The attacks follow a period of relative calm in the conflict.

The UAE’s Foreign Ministry expressed its “strongest condemnation of the criminal acts and the rejection of all forms of violence aimed at destabilising security and stability".

The attacks goes against “religious and human values and principles”, the ministry said.

It urged the international community to “confront terrorism that is undermining the chances of peace, stability and security".

Saudi Arabia joined the UAE in condemning the act.

"The kingdom of Saudi Arabia strongly condemns the terrorist attack carried out by the Houthi militia," its Foreign Ministry said.

The assault "reflects this terrorist militia's disregard for sacred places and for Yemeni blood".

The UN also condemned the attacks, warning it could sideline the country’s crumbling political process aimed at ending the war.

“The hard-earned progress that Yemen has made on de-escalation is very fragile. Such actions can derail this progress,” said the UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths.

Mr Griffiths urged the warring sides to focus on political developments and away from battle.

“The negotiation tables are more effective than battlefields in resolving the conflict,” he said.

The attack came days after Mr Griffiths told the UN Security Council that the country had one of its quietest periods since the start of the conflict in 2015.

"We have seen no major acts of military provocation in Yemen,” Mr Griffiths said last Thursday. "This is remarkable. Indeed, it has been one of the quietest weeks in Yemen since the war began.”

The civil war in Yemen began when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels overran most of north Yemen, including the capital Sanaa, pushing out Mr Hadi’s government.

Saudi Arabia intervened in the conflict a year later, forming the coalition that has since battled the Houthis.

Yemenis continue to be displaced from conflict areas, with almost 400,000 people driven from their homes in 2019.

Updated: January 21, 2020 12:15 AM

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