According to the Houthi rebels and an aid organization, the total number of deaths from an attack by the Saudi-led coalition that targeted a jail held by Yemen’s Houthi rebels has risen to a minimum of 82.
As the coalition’s airstrikes on Yemen’s capital of Sanaa and other targets continued, internet connection in the Arab world’s poorest nation remained mostly unavailable.
On Friday, an airstrike in Yemen’s northern Saada region was carried out as part of a massive air and military attack that signaled an escalation in the country’s years-old civil conflict. The war opposes the internationally recognized government, which is supported by a Saudi-led coalition, against Iranian-backed rebels, who are also backed by the alliance.
A drone and missile strike on Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, was claimed by the Houthis earlier this week, sparking the escalation. Additionally, government forces, with the assistance of UAE-backed soldiers and coalition aircraft, have retaken the whole Shabwa province from the Houthis and are exerting pressure on them in the central Marib province, according to the latest information available. The Houthis have been attempting to seize control of the province capital for more than a year in that country.
At least 82 people were killed and more than 265 people were injured in the bombing, according to Ahmed Mahat, the director of Doctors Without Borders’ charity mission in Yemen, who spoke to The Associated Press.
Rescuers were still looking for survivors and remains amid the ruins of the jail site in Saada, which borders Saudi Arabia, according to the Houthi media office.
According to Brig. Gen. Turki al-Malki, a spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition, the Houthis failed to notify the United Nations that the location needed to be protected from attacks as required. “The Houthis’ failure to do so,” he said, mirrored the militia’s “usual deceptive approach” throughout the fight.
Humanitarian organizations including Save the Children have reported that the Houthis utilized the jail complex to arrest migrants, especially from Africa, who were seeking to enter into Saudi Arabia via the war-torn nation.
Medical assistance organization Doctors Without Borders claims that the strike took place in a separate portion of the jail that housed other sorts of inmates, and that this was the case. According to him, the migrants are safe.
Reports that the coalition had targeted the jail were erroneous, according to Saudi state television, and Al-Malki said that the alliance will provide “facts and details” to the United Nations and the International Criminal Court.
A second Saudi-led coalition bombardment on Hodeida on Friday killed at least nine people and damaged a telecommunications hub that was critical to Yemen’s internet connection. Networking advocacy organization NetBlocks said Saturday that internet access has been “largely unavailable for more than 24 hours” across the nation.
This was not the first time an airstrike on a Houthi-run jail had been carried out, and it was one of the worst of the conflict. Several dozens of people were injured and more than 100 people were killed after an airstrike attacked a detention camp in the southern province of Dhamar.
In the past, human rights organizations have reported that the Houthis employ civilian prisoners as human shields by incarcerating them in detention facilities next to military installations, where they are constantly threatened with airstrikes.
As a result of the coalition’s bombings in Saada and Hodeida on Friday, the United Nations and international assistance and human rights organizations have intensified their condemnation of the alliance.
School buildings, hospitals, and wedding receptions have all been targeted by airstrikes launched by the Saudi-led coalition, killing thousands of civilians. While this has been going on, the Houthis have been using young soldiers and laying landmines around the nation with no regard for the consequences. Using ballistic missiles and explosive-laden drones, they also conducted cross-border strikes against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
A Houthi-held military installation and headquarters of Yemeni state television (abandoned) were targeted in airstrikes carried out by the coalition on Saturday in Sanaa and elsewhere. According to the coalition, airstrikes were also carried out against the Houthis in the disputed Harib region of Marib province.
They claim to have shot down three Houthi drones carrying explosives that were fired at government-held regions in Shabwa and Marib provinces. The Giants Brigades are supported by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
A funeral procession for a top military officer who was murdered together with his family members in a coalition bombing last week was conducted by the rebels in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital. According to an Associated Press video journalist, hundreds of Houthi sympathizers turned up for the burial of General. Abdalla Kassem al-Junaid, who served as head of the Air Academy.
Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State, called for all parties involved in the conflict in Yemen to put a halt to the escalation of violence and assaults throughout the country. “We urge all parties to commit to a peaceful, diplomatic solution to ending the conflict. The Yemeni people deserve to live in peace and determine their own future,” he wrote on Twitter.
In an attempt to bring the grinding conflict to a close, President Joe Biden’s administration declared the termination of U.S. backing for the coalition and the removal of the Houthis’ classification as a terrorist organization about a year ago, marking the beginning of the newest escalation.
The Houthi-claimed assault on the United Arab Emirates on Monday led Vice President Joe Biden to declare that his administration would explore reinstating the terrorist designation of the Iranian-backed rebels.
“Urgent de-escalation, plus steps to mitigate Yemen’s humanitarian and economic crises are top U.S. priorities,” said Tim Lenderking, U.S. special envoy, after his meeting with Saudi and Yemeni officials.
The new escalation of combat was the most violent since the 2018 war for Hodeida, and it comes after a year of diplomatic attempts by the United States and the United Nations failed to bring both the sides to the bargaining table.
The rebels have consistently resisted pleas from the United Nations and the United States to cease the onslaught in Marib province. Houthis have been attempting to seize Marib for more than a year in order to consolidate their grip over the northern part of Yemen. That would very certainly offer them a competitive advantage in any future discussions.
“The coalition has pulled the stops out to prevent a collapse in Marib and to shift the conflict towards a military equilibrium,” said Yemen expert, Peter Salisbury, at the International Crisis Group.
Conflict in Yemen started in 2014, when the Houthis captured Sanaa and all of northern Yemen, forcing the nation’s government to retreat to the south and subsequently into exile in Saudi Arabia. Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world. Later, the Saudi-led coalition, which was supported by the United States at the time, joined the conflict in an attempt to return the government to power. Since then, the conflict has evolved into a regional proxy war which has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of common people and combatants. Additionally, the conflict resulted in the world’s biggest humanitarian disaster, resulting in millions of people suffering from medical care and food shortages, and bringing their nation dangerously close to starvation.