AL-MUKALLA: Missiles and explosive-laden drones fired by the Iran-backed Houthi militia on Saturday ripped through the Red Sea port of Al-Mocha, causing damage to infrastructure and igniting a warehouse fire, the official state news agency SABA reported.
Abdul Malik Al-Sharabae, the port’s manager, said that the Houthis fired four missiles and three exploding drones at the port, damaging recently repaired infrastructure and starting a fire that destroyed goods belonging to local merchants and aid organizations.
Two of the drones were reportedly intercepted and shot down over the local town of Mocha before reaching their target.
“This is a war crime,” Al-Sharabae said, adding that the Houthi missiles landed at the port shortly after a government delegation from the Ministry of Transportation ended a brief visit that would have prepared for the official reopening of the port.
Local authorities in Mocha announced in July the resumption operations at the port after carrying out important maintenance, and called upon local traders and international aid organizations to use the port.
Yemeni government troops in January 2017 liberated the strategic coastal town of Mocha and after fierce fighting with the Houthis. The town’s port is one of the oldest in Yemen and was once an important hub in the coffee trade.
Residents and government officials in the southern city of Taiz told Arab News that the three missiles that targeted Mocha were fired from Houthi-controlled areas in Al-Tazia district, north of Taiz province.
Abdul Basit Al-Baher, a Yemen army officer in Taiz, told Arab News that the Houthis launched the missiles from Taiz to “send a message that they were not impacted by last week's heavy air raids by the Arab coalition on their military sites.”
Al-Baher said: “They want to say that they are able to launch deadly strikes despite setbacks,” calling for an intensification of anti-Houthi strikes and increased military support to to fully seize control of Taiz.
Intense airstrikes by Arab coalition warplanes on Wednesday targeted Houthi military installations in Taiz, including an air defense base, large ammunition and missile caches, artillery emplacements, rocket-launching sites and a command room.