AL-MUKALLA: Eight civilians, including four children and four women, were killed in a Houthi mortar attack in Yemen’s western province of Hodeidah, residents and local officials said.
The mortar fired by Houthi rebels struck a house in Al-Qazeh village, in Hodeidah’s Durihimi district, on Sunday, killing eight civilians and critically wounding seven others.
Four children and three women from the same extended family were among the injured, Fuad Maki, Durihimi’s director, told Arab News.
“This is a crime committed by Houthi militia,” Maki said, sharing graphic images of bloodstained victims.
Houthis have intensified their shelling and ground offensives in areas controlled by government forces in Hodeidah in a bid to drive loyalists from key locations in the province.
Local government officials have condemned mortar and ground attacks by rebels which they say breach the Stockholm Agreement.
Hodeidah’s Ministry of Human Rights office described the Houthi shelling as a “crime against humanity” and accused the rebels of exploiting a truce to attack residential areas in Hodeidah.
A local rights groups that documents war casualties said that militia attacks and land mines have killed more than 500 civilians since late 2018 when the agreement by signed.
In March, the internationally recognized government of Yemen suspended participation in the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) in the western province of Hodeidah after a Houthi sniper killed a government soldier.
In neighboring Taiz province, Houthi fighters are believed to have destroyed houses owned by two of their opponents.
Muhannad Al-Azzani, a local photographer, said that rebels destroyed his house and a neighbor’s residence on Saturday without giving a reason for the attack.
“The Houthi militia blew up our house next to Muhammad Ali Othman school. And (they blew up) the house of our neighbor, Amin Al-Sharabi,” Al-Azzani said on his Facebook page, attracting support and sympathy from his followers.
Even before taking power by force in late 2014, the Houthis destroyed hundreds of houses belonging to tribal leaders, army and security officers, journalists, activists and politicians who challenged their rule in the provinces of Sanaa, Amran, Taiz, Al- Bayda and Jouf.
Yemen’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday that troops and allied tribesmen pushed back a Houthi assault in the northeast of Marib province.
In Sanaa, Arab coalition planes on Sunday struck military sites around the airport controlled by the Houthis. On Friday, at least seven drone and ballistic missiles silos inside and outside the city were bombed by coalition warplanes.
In Riyadh, Prime Minister-designate Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed said on Sunday that talks on the formation of a new government have reached “the final stage.”
During a meeting with Vladimir Dedushkin, the Russian ambassador to Yemen, Saeed urged the international community to pressure the Houthis to accept peace proposals and stop attacks on maritime traffic in the Red Sea.