AL-MUKALLA, Yemen: A missile strike by Iran-backed Houthis that killed 10 workers in an industrial complex in the western Yemeni city of Hodeidah has led to calls for the rebels to be “named and shamed” over the targeting of civilians.
The deadly attack on Thursday brings to 51 the total number of civilians killed or wounded in similar strikes since Nov. 22, residents and local officials told Arab News.
A local security officer said that six workers were also wounded when the Houthi missile landed inside the Thabet Brothers warehouse complex.
“The missile was aimed precisely at the plant,” the officer, who declined to be named, told Arab News.
He rejected claims that government forces were responsible for the attack, saying: “The missile was launched from an area under Houthi control. The parts of Hodeidah where the plant is located are under our control.”
Media outlets affiliated with the Giants Brigades, a military unit fighting for the government, first reported that four workers were killed and eight wounded in the missile strike, showing graphic images of several corpses. Later, they reported that 10 civilians were killed and six wounded.
Along with other business operations in Yemen, the Hodeidah industrial complex has been a frequent target of Houthi rebels, most recently on Nov. 18 when shelling sparked a huge fire at the site.
Yemeni Information Minister Muammar Al-Aryani strongly condemned the latest Houthi attack, urging the UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths and the UN mission in Hodeidah to “name and shame” the rebels for the civilian deaths.
“We condemn in strongest terms the heinous terrorist crime committed by Iranian-backed Houthi militia today with the targeting of the Thabet Brothers complex in Hodeidah,” he said on Twitter on Thursday.
On Friday, an explosive-laden drone targeting the southern part of Saudi Arabia was intercepted and destroyed by the Arab coalition backing Yemen’s internationally recognized government.
Coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Turki Al-Maliki said that the booby-trapped drone was aimed at civilians and civilian facilities in the region.
Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, later condemned the attempted strike.
The condemnation came as a UN report warned that famine-like conditions have returned to parts of Yemen, with almost half the population facing major food shortages.
Aid agencies say time is running out to prevent mass starvation.
About 45 percent of Yemen’s population is facing acute food insecurity, according to a UN analysis, with more than 16,500 people on the brink of famine.
Houthis have stepped up ground attacks and mortar shelling on government areas in Hodeidah since early last month in a bid to end months of military stalemate and seize control of new areas in the province.
In seven days alone between Nov. 22 and Nov. 29 land mines and shelling by the militants killed and wounded 35 people in several locations in Hodeidah.
The deadliest attack was on Nov. 29 when a Houthi mortar attack killed eight people and wounded several others in a village in Hodeidah’s Durihimi district.
Militia attacks on civilian targets have triggered widespread condemnations from inside and outside Yemen as activists and officials call for more pressure on the Houthis.
Ahmed Atteq, director of Durihmi’s office of the Ministry of Human Rights, told Arab News on Friday that his office has made many appeals for an end to militia attacks on civilians.
“The latest escalation in attacks on civilians is a clear violation of Stockholm Agreement,” he said. “The accord has never been implemented by the Houthis.”