The Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have threatened to launch more drone attacks, after a strike on a Yemeni government military parade in the southern province of Lahaj killed several people last week, The Daily Telegraph reported Sunday.
The Houthis’ acts of aggression against the internationally recognized Yemeni government has dealt a fresh blow to UN-led peace talks that started last month in Sweden and resulted in a fragile ceasefire, which demands a full withdrawal of Houthi militias from Hodeidah’s three ports and city.
The ceasefire is grounded in UN Resolution 2216, which mandates the Yemeni government and coalition to ensure all territory seized by the Houthis is returned to the Hadi government.
In a further development, the Iranian-backed rebels refused to attend a meeting with the head of the UN ceasefire monitoring team in Hodeidah, following their pattern of boycotting efforts by the international community to negotiate an end to the fighting.
Mohammed Abdelsalam, a Houthi negotiator, charged the delegation refused to attend the talks because Patrick Cammaert, the retired Dutch general who heads the monitoring team, had steered “from the course of the agreement” and was pursuing other agendas.
Meanwhile a spokesman for the Houthis, Yahya Sarea, defended the drone attack on the military parade and described it as a “legitimate operation against aggression.” He also charged that the Iranian-backed rebels were working to amass a stockpile of locally manufactured drones.
“Soon there will be enough in the strategic stockpile to launch more than one drone operation in multiple battle fronts at the same time,” Sarea told reporters in the Houthi-held capital Sanaa.
Analysts said the Houthi drone appeared to be based on an Iranian Ababil T drone. It was not clear, however, if the drone was supplied by the regime in Tehran or constructed by the Houthis based on an Iranian design.
Iran’s use of Yemen as a southern gateway to attack Gulf states via Houthi attacks, primarily aimed at the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, has been one of the most concerning developments of the conflict. The port of Hodeidah is the rebel group’s prized possession, accounting for at least 80% of Yemen’s aid and the illegal flow of Iranian weaponry to Houthi fighters.
The civil war that started in 2015 has left the economy in ruins and 80 percent of Yemen’s population now dependent on humanitarian aid.
[Photo: AFP / YouTube ]