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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

Yemen displacement camp targeted by Houthi shelling

One woman was killed and several injured in the attack

 

A woman was killed and 12 others were injured when Houthi fighters attacked a displacement camp EPA
A woman was killed and 12 others were injured when Houthi fighters attacked a displacement camp EPA

A woman was killed and 12 others injured when Houthi fighters attacked a displacement camp located in Khokhah, a district south of Hodeidah, according to sources contacted by The National.

The rebels' shelling on Friday was at close range, "affirming that it was deliberately carried out from Houthi pockets in the mountainous chains surrounding Hays," a military source on the ground said.

Thaer Al Makraee, a civilian who volunteered to help victims of the attack, said the woman was killed as she was having lunch with her children. "I found her little sons crying...over her body, that was really painful," he said.

The attack caused civilians inside the camp to flee, the director of a nearby mobile clinic told The National.

“All the displaced people in the camp – which included many families – have left to go to another displacement area in the east of the city,” Dr Hasan Abu Al Gaith said, adding that eight of the 12 victims had suffered severe injuries.

“Houthi fighters broke into [the area], they unexpectedly fired more than five mortars into the camp of displaced people at 1pm when most of the residents were inside their tents,” a security source at the camp told The National.

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Members of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, a humanitarian organisation in charge of the camp, are following up the incident alongside Yemen's authorities.

In a statement KSRelief condemned the attack, saying such actions revealed the Houthi militias’ "blatant disregard for the principles of human rights and international humanitarian law". They also urged the UN to take a firm stance against Houthi rebel violence.

Meanwhile on Wednesday Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said he hoped the Iran-backed rebels would soon be ready for negotiations and "to have a deal".

Yemen peace talks in Geneva in September collapsed after the Houthi delegation failed to attend.

UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths said their failure to come to Geneva for the first talks in three years did not signify that the peace process was deadlocked - but the resumption of an offensive by the Arab-backed coalition soon after to retake the port city of Hodeidah suggested otherwise.

"We hope it will end as soon as possible," said Prince Mohammed in reference to the three-year war. "We don’t need that on our border. But of course we don’t need to have a new Hezbollah in the Arabian peninsula. This is a red line not only for Saudi Arabia but for the whole world."

The Saudi crown prince stressed the need to prevent Iran and Hezbollah proxies in Yemen from controlling the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, "through which about 15 per cent of the world trade goes through".

"We will continue to pressure them. We hope they’ll get ready as soon as possible to have negotiations and to have a deal," he said.

An estimated 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen's conflict, which has produced what the UN says is the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

"Mistakes happen in all wars. Any war mistakes will happen, painful things will happen. We will try to solve it as soon as possible," Prince Salman told Bloomberg.

The UAE minister of state for foreign affairs Dr Anwar Gargash on Thursday met with special envoy Mr Griffiths to discuss resuming peace talks.

Dr Gargash reiterated the UAE's support for the envoy's efforts to restore security in Yemen and the need to find a solution to the country's troubled economy.