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AFP
January 20, 2020

Over 100 Yemen soldiers killed in missile, drone attack

Top Story

AFP
January 20, 2020

DUBAI: More than 100 Yemeni soldiers have been killed and scores injured in a missile and drone attack blamed on Huthi rebels in central Yemen, medical and military sources said Sunday. Saturday’s strike follows months of relative calm in the war between the Huthis and Yemen’s internationally recognised government.

The Huthis attacked a mosque in a military camp in the central province of Marib -- about 170 kilometres (105 miles) east of the capital Sanaa -- during evening prayers, military sources told AFP.

A medical source at a Marib city hospital, where the casualties were transported, said 100 soldiers were killed and 148 injured in the strike. Death tolls in Yemen’s grinding conflict are often disputed, but the huge casualty list in Marib represents one of the bloodiest single attacks since the war erupted in 2014 when the rebels seized Sanaa.

Saudi-owned Al-Hadath television broadcast a video that it said showed the gruesome aftermath of the attack. Body parts can be seen on the floor, among shredded debris, and with blood pooled on the carpet and spattered against the walls.

The drone and missile strike came a day after coalition-backed government forceslaunched a large-scale operation against the Huthis in the Nihm region, north of Sanaa. Fighting in Nihm was ongoing on Sunday, a military source said according to the official Saba news agency.

"Dozens from the (Huthi) militia were killed and injured," the source added. Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi condemned the "cowardly and terrorist" attack on the mosque, Saba reported.

"The disgraceful actions of the Huthi militia without a doubt confirm its unwillingness to (achieve) peace, because it knows nothing but death and destruction and is a cheap Iranian tool in the region," it quoted Hadi as saying.

The president also stressed the importance of increasing military vigilance "to foil hostile and destructive plans and maintain security and stability". The Huthis did not make any immediate claim of responsibility and the Saba report did not give a death toll.

The uptick in violence comes shortly after United Nations envoy Martin Griffiths welcomed a sharp reduction in air strikes and the movement of ground forces. "We are surely, and I hope this is true and I hope it will remain so, witnessing one of the quietest periods of this conflict," he said in a briefing to the UN Security Council on Thursday. "Experience however tells us that military de-escalation cannot be sustained without political progress between the parties, and this has become the next challenge."