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Yemenis call for investigation into Marib attacks

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden

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Yemeni tribesmen from the pro-government Popular Resistance Committees take a break during the battle against Houthis on June 30th, 2017 in Sirwah, west of Marib city. [Abdullah al-Qadry/AFP]

Seven Yemeni soldiers were killed in a Wednesday (November 13th) missile attack on a military base in Marib province that a military official has blamed on the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah).

Two senior officers were among the dead, a military official told AFP, in a casualty toll confirmed by a medic at Marib hospital.

Twelve others were injured in the incident.

Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi said the latest attack in Marib would not dissuade the national army from proceeding with its operations to liberate the country from the Houthis.

During a Wednesday phone call with Minister of Defence Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Maqdishi, Hadi stressed the need to liberate every inch of Yemeni soil from the "coup gangs who seek to destroy the country to serve foreign agendas".

The Wednesday attack was the second attempt in two weeks to target Yemeni Ministry of Defence commanders in Marib.

The previous incident, on October 29th, targeted a meeting al-Maqdishi and Arab Coalition commander in Marib Ibrahim bin Ali al-Harbi were attending, along with their senior officers.

The Houthis carried out the attack from Mount Haylan "which overlooks Marib province and which they control”, said military analyst Col. Yahya Abu Hatem.

This area must be brought back under government control, he told Al-Mashareq.

'A serious development'

Both of the attacks on the Marib camp were carried out using smart missiles, Abaad Centre for Strategic Studies head Abdul Salam Mohammed told Al-Mashareq, describing this as "a serious development".

“Yemen has to call for an international investigation, in which Saudi Arabia and the US take part, to find out how these missiles were acquired, whether the perpetrators were the Houthis or others,” he said.

“The international investigation is important to identify the state that supplied such missiles to Houthis, if they were behind the attack,” he added.

“We also need to know the means of launch, whether via a drone or a radar, and whether there is a regional state, like Iran or another, that took part with the Houthis in this military strike," Mohammed said.

Iran may have been behind the attacks, he said, as it may have helped to smuggle the missiles to the Houthis. But that leaves the question of how Iran got hold of them in the first place, as is not able to purchase such weapons.

“Initial analysis confirms that the two strikes that targeted the same camp in Marib involved missiles similar to the AGM-114K Hellfire, a US-made missile launched from drones or military aircraft,” he said.

“That missile was then modified to be launched from a stationary or mobile base," he said.

The repeated targeting of the same camp points to a security breach and a failure to secure military positions and Ministry of Defence meetings, political analyst Faisal Ahmed told Al-Mashareq.

Ahmed urged the Arab Coalition and the Yemeni Ministry of Defence to build an advanced air defence system to protect the liberated provinces from attacks by the Houthis, and to restore all parts of Yemen to government control.

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