AL-MUKALLA, Yemen: Yemen’s presidential council has promised to confront the “terrorist” Houthis and called for resistance as international envoys criticized the militia’s renewed assault.
The council, chaired by Rashad Al-Alimi, said the latest Houthi attacks, primarily in Marib and Shabwa, demonstrated that the militia had no wish to end the war. It promised to thwart their advances and said it would help people in Houthi-controlled areas to resist their domination.
“The council urged the international community to recognize the gravity of this terrorist escalation, with the continuous smuggling of additional Iranian weaponry to militias, and the disastrous consequences for world peace and security,” the council was quoted by the SABA news agency as saying.
It did not specify how it would respond but pledged to “take all steps necessary to protect public interests and deter terrorist groups.”
The eight-man presidential council has faced increasing public pressure to launch counter-strikes since the militia attacked oil installations in Hadramout and Shabwa provinces last year.
The Houthis have made minor advances in Shabwa and Marib since early last week, targeting government forces with heavy weaponry and explosive drones.
The Houthis seized some villages in Marib’s Hareb and Shabwa’s Merkhah Al-Ulya districts before government troops received reinforcements and pushed them back.
The militia also attempted to assassinate Taiz Governor Nabeil Shamsan, targeting his car with artillery and missiles on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Western ambassadors in Yemen have condemned the renewed attacks and urged the Houthis to de-escalate and comply with efforts to end the war.
Richard Oppenheim, the British ambassador, said the militia must “cease their provocative actions and show genuine commitment to peace in Yemen.”
Steven Fagin, the US ambassador, said: “We condemn the recent Houthi escalation in Taiz and Marib, which led to fatalities, and express our condolences to the victims' families.
“The Houthis must stop exacerbating Yemenis’ suffering and support a peaceful resolution to the conflict.”
Yemeni government officials say that the Houthi escalation coincided with the eighth anniversary of the Arab coalition’s military intervention to show that they had not been defeated.
“The Houthis took advantage of the anniversary of Decisive Storm and Ramadan to demonstrate their might,” a Yemeni government official, who wished to remain anonymous, told Arab News.