Yemeni officials say Houthi attack destroys aid warehouses
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemeni officials said the country’s Houthi rebels fired a ballistic missile and explosive-laden drones at a Red Sea port on Saturday, destroying humanitarian aid warehouses.
The attack on the port city of Mocha on Yemen’s western coast was the latest blamed on the Iranian-backed Houthis, who have in recent weeks accelerated their offensives on government areas, as well cross-border attacks on neighboring Saudi Arabia.
The rebels did not claim responsibility for the attack, which bore the hallmarks of the Houthis. A Houthi spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Yemen has been convulsed by civil war since 2014 when Iran-backed Houthi rebels took control of the capital of Sanaa and much of the northern part of the country, forcing the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee to the south, then to Saudi Arabia.
A Saudi-led coalition entered the war in March 2015, backed by the United States, to try restore Hadi to power, and threw its support behind his internationally backed government. Despite a relentless air campaign and ground fighting, the war has deteriorated largely into a stalemate and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The Foreign Ministry of the internationally recognized government said in a statement that the Houthis had fired a ballistic missile and five explosives-laden drones at the port.
No human causalities were reported, but the ministry’s statement said the attack caused “huge destruction” to the port’s infrastructure and burned the storehouses of some aid agencies. It didn’t name which agencies have cargo stored at the port.
Saturday’s attack on Mocha port came after the new U.N. special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, said Friday that the Arab world’s poorest nation is “stuck in an indefinite state of war.” He warned that resuming peace negotiations won’t be easy.
Earlier this year, the Houthis renewed their offensive on the central city of Marib, but they have failed to achieve substantial progress and suffered heavy casualties. They also launched numerous cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia.
Last month, a bomb-laden drone crashed into an airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia, wounding eight people and damaging a civilian plane, an attack the Kingdom blamed on the Houthis.
The attack on Saudi Arabia came just days after days after missiles and drones slammed into a key military base in Yemen’s south, killing at least 30 Saudi-backed Yemeni troops.