Dozens of Yemenis feared dead in botched Houthi missile launch
AL-MUKALLA: Dozens of civilians were reportedly killed or wounded in Yemen’s northern province of Dhamar on Saturday when a ballistic missile fired by the Iran-backed Houthis failed to reach its target and ripped through a residential area, residents and local media said.
Launched by the Houthis from a military base under their control in Dhamar city, the missile landed in a densely populated area close to the base, triggering a huge explosion that rocked the city.
The Houthis quickly sealed off the streets and banned people from entering or leaving the area.
Al-Sharae newspaper reported that the missile “destroyed many houses” in the Al-Najeda neighborhood as ambulances with blaring sirens were seen rushing to the area.
Images seen on social media showed a large fireball and smoke billowing from the site.
The Houthis have intensified drone and missile strikes on the central city of Marib as their ground forces have aggressively pushed to seize control of the strategic city since February.
During the last several days, Arab coalition jets targeted military sites in Houthi-held Hodeidah and Sanaa, where ballistic missiles, explosive drones and bomb boats are manufactured and stored.
In the southern city of Aden, the interim capital, Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed on Saturday urged factions to forge unified ranks for war against the Houthis and to end the Iranian regime’s strategy in the country.
During a virtual meeting with representatives of political parties included in the government, the prime minister warned that the Houthis are “seeking to seize control of Yemen and would target all opponents who challenged their rule,” urging Yemenis to “come together” to defeat the Houthis.
“The Houthi danger and the Iranian project in Yemen will not exclude anyone, and no party is immune. If we don’t fight it together today, no party will find the time and ground to fight this Iranian-led criminal project in the region,” Saeed said, according to the official news agency.
Yemeni political analysts and officials argue that ongoing infighting among the anti-Houthi camp has weakened it politically and militarily, and enabled the militia to expand across Yemen.
Najeeb Ghallab, undersecretary at Yemen’s information ministry and a political analyst, urged Yemeni parties to “positively respond” to the prime minister’s call, adding that unifying splintered groups and factions would lead to defeat of the Houthis and push them into accepting peace initiatives.
“The only beneficiary of the conflicts and splits within anti-Houthi forces is the Houthis. Unifying factions would place powerful pressure on them,” Ghallab told Arab News.
On the ground, dozens of Houthis and several government troops were killed in fierce clashes over the past day in Juba district, south of Marib province, a Yemeni military official who visited the battlefield told Arab News. The Yemeni army and allied tribesmen foiled consecutive attacks by more than 15 groups of Houthi fighters in Juba who staged a bid to break through Marib defenses.
“The Houthis seized control of a remote village in Juba in the morning and we liberated it by the end of the day,” the official, who requested anonymity, said.
Arab coalition: Over 200 Houthis killed in strikes on Juba and Al-KasarahMore than 90 Houthis killed, 16 military vehicles destroyed in coalition strikes on Jubah and Al-Kassarah