Yemeni President condemns rebel attack as death toll rises

SANAA, YEMEN (AP) — Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi condemned yesterday’s attack by Houthi rebels on a government military camp and said fatalities had risen to at least 60 troops.

Ballistic missiles smashed into a mosque in the training camp in the central province of Marib late Saturday, wounding a hundred other troops. The oil-rich province of Marib lies about 115 kilometres east of the Houthi-controlled capital, Sanaa. The city is a stronghold of the Saudi-led, United States (US)-backed coalition.

The missile strike was the bloodiest attack in Marib since the beginning of Yemen’s long-running civil war, marking a military escalation in a rare spot of relative stability.

President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi described Saturday’s assault on Muslim worshipers as an act of “blatant aggression” that underscored Houthis’ “lawlessness” and “unwillingness” to make peace, according to Saudi Arabia’s state-run news agency. He denounced the Houthis as “a cheap Iranian tool in the region.” Yemen’s defence ministry placed the military on heightened alert at nearby bases, directing troops to “take precautions” ahead of imminent battle.

The conflict became a regional proxy war months later as a Saudi-led coalition intervened to try and restore Hadi’s internationally-recognised government, which rules in exile in Riyadh, the Saudi capital.