Yemen: Scores killed in missile attack on military camp | News | DW | 19.01.2020
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Yemen: Scores killed in missile attack on military camp

At least 79 Yemeni soldiers were killed in the strike outside the capital of Sanaa in Yemen. The attack reportedly targeted a mosque located inside a military training camp during evening prayers.

A missile attack on a Yemeni military training camp in the oil-rich province of Marib killed scores of soldiers, sparking outrage from Yemen's internationally recognized government on Sunday.

Saudi state television reported that at least 79 military personnel were killed in the strike on Saturday evening at the camp — which is located around 170 kilometers (105 miles) east of the capital Sanaa.

Yemen's Foreign Ministry estimated the death toll reached at least 100, with at least 81 wounded.

The ballistic missile strike hit a mosque located inside the camp during evening prayers on Saturday.

Read more: German arms companies accused of aiding war crimes in Yemen

Yemeni government slams 'cowardly' attack

Yemen's internationally recognized government condemned the strike as a "cowardly and terrorist" attack, according to the official Saba news agency.

Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi told the military to be on high alert and ready for battle. He blamed the Iran-backed Houthi rebels for the deadly attack.

Hadi described the assault as an act of "blatant aggression'' that showed Houthis' "lawlessness'' and "unwillingness'' to make peace, according to Saudi Arabia's state-run news agency. The Yemeni president said the Houthis were acting as "a cheap Iranian tool in the region.''

Houthi rebels defended their deadly strike as an embarrassing defeat for the Yemeni government. "It appears that (coalition forces) have not learned the lessons of five years of fierce military confrontation,'' said Sharaf Lokman, a Houthi official. "Coalition forces have failed politically, militarily and morally.''

Read more: Longing for peace: The young Yemeni pushing for change from abroad

Abdu Abdullah Magli, a spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces, vowed to retaliate following the Saturday attack.

"This attack will be answered harshly,'' Magli warned in a televised statement.

Coalition forces said they launched "massive assaults'' on Houthi targets northeast of the capital, killing and wounding dozens of Houthi fighters.

Fragile de-escalation

The United Nations envoy to Yemen, meanwhile, delivered a stern warning about the attack and the recent spike in violence.

"The hard-earned progress that Yemen has made on de-escalation is very fragile. Such actions can derail this progress,'' warned Martin Griffiths.

Saturday's attack came after government forces, which are backed by a Saudi-led coalition, launched a large-scale operation against the Houthis in a region north of Sanaa.

The conflict in Yemen has killed tens of thousands of people since 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened to back Hadi's government against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The conflict has displaced millions of people, pushed the country to the brink of famine and created what the United Nations says is the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

shs, mm, rs/ng (AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa)

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