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Yemen: Dozens killed and injured in Houthi attack in Marib, says government

Government minister says ballistic missile attack left 29 casualties after striking mosque and religious school
Fighters loyal to Yemen's government man a position near al-Jawba frontline facing Houthi rebels, in the country's northeastern province of Marib on 31 October 2021 (AFP)

At least 29 civilians have been killed or injured by a Houthi ballistic missile attack in Yemen's Marib province, according to the government's information minister.

In a Twitter statement on Monday, the minister said the missile struck a mosque and a religious school, with women and children among the victims.

Two ballistic missiles were used in the attack late on Sunday, Marib governor's office also said in a statement.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility by the Houthis, who are fighting Saudi-backed government forces for control of the city and surrounding province.

Fighting between government forces and Houthis has escalated in recent months, with hundreds of casualties reported on both sides.

Saudi Arabia has targeted the Houthi forces with air strikes, claiming to have killed many fighters.

Thousands displaced

The United Nations says some 10,000 people were displaced in September by fighting in Marib, the internationally recognised government's last northern stronghold.

It is calling for a humanitarian corridor for aid.

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The war in Yemen and ensuing economic collapse, as well as restrictions on imports and air travel to Houthi-held areas, have caused what the United Nations says is the world's biggest humanitarian crisis, with 16 million people facing starvation.

A coalition of forces led by Riyadh intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Iran-aligned Houthis ousted the Saudi-backed government from the capital Sanaa in late 2014.

The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.

The Houthi movement said in October they had seized new territory in the energy-rich provinces of Shabwa and Marib, gains confirmed by sources, as it presses an offensive likely to further complicate international peace efforts.

Last week the Houthi military spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Sarie confirmed that their forces took over both Al-Juba and Jabal Murad districts, adding that the Murad tribe, one of the most powerful tribes in Yemen, had played a major role in their latest advances.

Sarie said that the Houthis’ objective was to capture Marib city vowing to secure its residents and their properties.

Secret talks

According to local reports, tribal leaders arrived last week in the capital Sanaa, which the Houthi movement has held since 2015, to talk about a peaceful takeover of Marib city, under the conditions of maintaining the properties of civilians and amnesty to fighters who fought against the Houthis.

Jaber, a resident of Marib city, told MEE that secret talks were ongoing between the Houthis and tribal leaders to end fighting in Marib.

“Residents of Marib weren’t aware about the agreement between the Houthis and the tribal leaders of the Murad tribe and we only found out after the Houthi advance on Jabal Murad district,” Jaber said, using a fake name for security reasons.

“I think there are talks between the Houthis and tribal leaders, especially after the recent advances and the support the Houthis received from the tribal leaders, but we don’t know details.”