At least five killed in blast targeting military parade in Yemen

No claim of responsibility for attack on military graduation that wounded eight people in southern town of al-Dhalea.

Members of UAE-backed southern Yemeni separatist forces patrol a road during clashes with government forces in Aden, Yemen
Yemen has suffered from almost five years of conflict since the Houthi movement overthrew President Hadi's government in late 2014 [File: Fawaz Salman/Reuters]

At least five people have died after an explosion at a military graduation parade in Yemen‘s southern town of al-Dhalea, Yemen’s Security Belt forces said.

Eight people were also injured in the attack on Sunday, according to local health authority figures quoted by the Security Belt group.

No claim of responsibility had yet been made, but the media office of the southern forces said the blast was caused by a Houthi missile.

The Security Belt forces are part of a southern separatist front in southern Yemen and are backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the fight against Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group. 

Witnesses told Reuters News Agency that an explosion took place near a guest platform during the parade and that dozens were injured or killed. They reported seeing bodies at the scene.

Al Jazeera’s Mohammed al-Attab, reporting from the capital Sanaa, said that al-Dhalea is a “battlefield” between the Houthis and the internationally-recognised government forces.

“On previous occasions, the Houthis have carried out attacks on military parades,” al-Attab said. “But al-Qaeda is also active in the area.”

Meanwhile, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saria on Sunday said six “sensitive” places in Saudi Arabia and three in the UAE are on a list of military targets, suggesting the group remains prepared to fight on despite informal talks about a truce in Yemen’s war.

The priority targets were said to be “vital and sensitive” locations, Saria said without giving more details, during a round-up of the group’s activities during 2019 and outlook for 2020.

The Houthis have repeatedly said they have targets in Saudi and the UAE in their sights and have carried out missile and drone strikes on civilian airports and oil infrastructure in Saudi, as well as on the capital Riyadh.

In August, the group claimed responsibility for a missile and drone attack on a parade in Aden, the seat of the internationally-recognised government, that killed around 36 people, including a prominent commander.

Yemen has suffered from almost five years of conflict since the Houthi movement overthrew President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi‘s government in late 2014. The coup drew military intervention in 2015 by a Saudi- UAE-led coalition, trying to restore Hadi’s internationally-recognised government.

The town of al-Dhalea is controlled by southern separatist forces. It lies on the main south-to-north road linking the southern port of Aden – controlled by Hadi’s government – to the Houthi-controlled capital, Sanaa.

A contested front-line runs across al-Dhalea province.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies