Yemeni officials have said the country’s Houthi rebels have fired a ballistic missile and five explosive-laden drones at a Red Sea port, destroying humanitarian aid warehouses.
The foreign ministry of the internationally recognised government said in a statement on Saturday the attack targeted al-Makha port on Yemen’s western coast.
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No human casualties were reported, but the ministry’s statement said the attack caused “huge destruction” to the port’s infrastructure and burned the storehouses of some aid agencies. It did not name which agencies have cargo stored at the port.
The southwest is vital for the import and delivery of humanitarian supplies. The port reportedly reopened for business a month ago after reconstruction and renovation work.
The attack was the latest blamed on the Houthis, who have in recent weeks accelerated their offensives on government areas, as well as cross-border attacks on neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
The rebels did not claim responsibility for the attack.
Yemen has been racked by civil war since 2014 when the Houthis took control of the capital, Sanaa, and much of the northern part of the country, forcing the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to the south, then to Saudi Arabia.
A Saudi-led military coalition entered the war in March 2015, backed by the United States, to try to restore Hadi to power, and threw its support behind his internationally backed government. Despite a relentless air campaign and ground fighting, the war has deteriorated largely into a deadlock and spawned what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Saturday’s attack on al-Makha port came after the new UN special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, said on Friday that the Arab world’s poorest nation is “stuck in an indefinite state of war”. He warned that resuming peace negotiations will not be easy.
Earlier this year, the Houthis renewed their offensive on the central city of Marib, but they have failed to achieve substantial progress and suffered heavy casualties. They also launched numerous cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia.
Last month, a bomb-laden drone crashed into an airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia, wounding eight people and damaging a civilian plane, an attack the kingdom blamed on the Houthis.
The attack on Saudi Arabia came just days after missiles and drones slammed into a key military base in Yemen’s south, killing at least 30 Saudi-backed Yemeni troops.