Five killed as Houthi rebel missile hits Yemen's key Marib city: medic

Five killed as Houthi rebel missile hits Yemen's key Marib city: medic
3 min read
The attack comes a day after pro-government fighters from a United Arab Emirates-trained militia said they expelled the Houthis from Harib, a district south of Marib.
Marib city is the Yemeni government's last northern stronghold [AFP/Getty-file photo]

Five people were killed on Wednesday and 23 others wounded when Yemen's Houthi rebels fired a ballistic missile at the strategic northern city of Marib, a medical source said.

The medic said that "two soldiers and three civilians were killed" in the strike, which the Houthis claimed on Twitter.

Marib, in an oil-rich province of the same name, is the government's last northern stronghold, and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels have been fighting to seize it for months.

A pro-government military source also said a ballistic missile shot by the Houthis landed in the city.

The attack comes a day after pro-government fighters from a United Arab Emirates-trained militia said they expelled the Houthis from Harib, a district south of Marib.

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The clashes are part of a major escalation in the seven-year war after the Houthis, following a series of territorial defeats, launched a deadly drone-and-missile attack on the UAE last week.

The Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa in 2014, prompting a Saudi-led military intervention - supported by arms sales from the US, France and Britain - the following year.

Hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions displaced in the conflict, which the United Nations has labelled the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Wednesday's attack on Marib also came two days after the insurgents' latest missile attack on the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, and more than a week after three people were killed in the first deadly attack on UAE soil claimed by Houthis and acknowledged by the Emiratis.

The UAE is part of the Saudi-led coalition that has been battling the rebels, in support of Yemen's internationally recognised government.

Saudi Arabia accuses regional rival Iran of providing military support to Yemen's Houthi rebels, especially missiles and rockets, claims that Tehran denies.

Also on Wednesday, rights group Amnesty International said the Saudi-led coalition "used a precision-guided munition made in the United States" in a strike that hit a Yemeni prison last week.

The attack in rebel-held Saada left at least 70 people dead and wounded more than 100, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Friday.

The coalition denied being behind the attack.

But Amnesty said its arms experts used "photos of the remnants of the weapon" to identify a GBU-12 500-pound "laser-guided bomb used in the attack".

"The USA and other arms-supplying states must immediately halt transfers of arms, equipment, and military assistance to all parties involved in the conflict in Yemen," Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International's deputy regional director, said in a statement.