Yemeni president condemns rebel attack on military camp as death toll rises to 79

Yemen’s president condemned on Sunday an attack by Houthi rebels on a government military camp, as authorities said fatalities had risen to at least 79 troops.

Ballistic missiles smashed into a mosque in the training camp in the central province of Marib late Saturday, wounding 81 others during evening prayers, according to Abdu Abdullah Magli, spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces.

The oil-rich province of Marib lies about 115 kilometres east of the Houthi-controlled capital, Sanaa. The city is a stronghold of the Saudi-led, U.S.-backed coalition.

The missile strike was the bloodiest attack in Marib since the beginning of Yemen’s long-running civil war, marking a military escalation in a rare spot of relative stability.

President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi described Saturday’s assault on Muslim worshipers as an act of “blatant aggression” that underscored Houthis’ “lawlessness” and “unwillingness” to make peace, according to Saudi Arabia’s state-run news agency. He denounced the Houthis as “a cheap Iranian tool in the region.”

Yemen’s defence ministry placed the military on heightened alert at nearby bases, directing troops to “take precautions” ahead of imminent battle.

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