Massive explosion reveals Houthi bomb-making workshop north of Sanaa

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden


Yemeni pro-government fighters carry explosives and landmines planted by the Houthis on June 8th, 2018, near the city of al-Jah in al-Hodeida province. [Nabil Hassan/AFP]

A large explosion Sunday evening (February 9th) at a house in al-Qabel village, north of Sanaa, has revealed an Iran-backed Houthi (Ansarallah) bomb-making workshop.

Several men involved in rigging drones with explosives were killed or wounded in the blast, which sparked panic among residents and caused partial collapse of the three-storey house.

Locals said the house is owned by Houthi leader Mohammed Hameed Eddin, who turned it into a workshop for rigging drones with explosives.

Houthi media said the blast was the result of a gas cylinder explosion. However, a local resident, citing a Houthi source, said the blast was caused by an error while rigging a drone with explosives, Almasdar Online reported.

Following the blast, Houthi gunmen besieged the area where the house is located and collected body parts from those who were blown up by the explosion, witnesses said.

Human shields

"The blast was massive and its damages can be easily seen on the house," Qassim Nassir, a resident of al-Qabel village, told Al-Mashareq. "This confirms that it was not just a regular house."

"The Houthi deployment and the siege around the place confirm its importance to the Houthis, unlike previous incidents involving gas cylinders," he said.

Nassir condemned the Houthi's use of civilians' houses in military operations "as it poses a danger to civilians' lives".

"Such an incident shows that Houthis are using civilians and residential homes as shields in their war against the internationally-recognised government," said Abdul Salam Mohammed, head of the Abaad Centre for Strategic Studies.

"Turning houses in the middle of towns and villages into weapons and explosives depots is a crime worthy of an international investigation," he told Al-Mashareq.

"The incident also confirms that Houthis are not opting for peace, and that they are still preparing for long wars that may go beyond Yemen's borders," he said.

"It also reveals that Houthis have explosives experts who are either foreigners or Yemenis who were trained abroad," he said. "All indications confirm that Iran is involved in supplying the militia with explosives and manufacturing experts."

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