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Houthis Scale up Assaults despite Washington’s Decision to Revoke Their Terrorist Designation

Houthis Scale up Assaults despite Washington’s Decision to Revoke Their Terrorist Designation

Monday, 8 February, 2021 - 07:45
Houthi militants ride on the back of a patrol truck as they secure the site of a pro-Houthi tribal gathering in a rural area near Sanaa, Yemen July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

The Biden administration’s decision to revoke the terrorist designation of Iran-backed Houthi militias was met by the latter stepping up assaults against Yemen’s Marib, al-Jawf and Taiz governorates.

The criticism leveled by the internationally recognized Yemeni government against Washington’s decision included warnings of the move emboldening Houthis and consequentially harming peace efforts.

At least three people were killed on Sunday when a ballistic missile launched by Houthi militias struck a family house on the western outskirts of Marib city, medics and residents said.

Three others were wounded in the attack which destroyed the house and damaged several neighboring homes, they added.

The missile attack came simultaneously with the other attack of a Houthi drone that the government forces intercepted in the sky of Marib, confirmed official sources, adding that those injured in the attack were transported to the closest area hospital for treatment.

The assaults came two days after the administration of US President Joe Biden said it would revoke the terrorist designation of Houthis by the previous administration.

More so, Houthi militias have increased their deployment to Marib’s west and southern fronts over the last two days, field sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Houthis did not only attack in Marib, they also staged hits in neighboring al-Jawf governorate.

Yemeni Minister of Information Muammar al-Eryani, for his part, warned that Washington’s decision to revoke the Houthi terrorist designation will strengthen Iran’s subversive policies in the region and threaten international interests.

Eryani said that hinting at the possibility of Washington reversing the designation of the Houthi militia as a terrorist organization sends the wrong signals to the Houthis, and Iran, to continue their escalatory approach and their crimes and violations against civilians.

It will also encourage policies of spreading chaos and terrorism in the region and challenging the will of the international community in ending the war and bringing about a just and comprehensive peace.

The information minister also explained that “parties and international organizations pressed to stop the military operations to liberate the city of Hodeidah under the pretext of the deteriorating humanitarian conditions, and the government responded to affirm its concern for peace, and participated in the Stockholm negotiations that resulted in an agreement to remove the Houthi militia from Hodeidah, exchange all prisoners and kidnappers and lift the siege on Taiz Governorate.”

“After two years of the agreement, nothing was achieved. Al Houthi militia continued to target civilians, villages, homes and farms with missiles and snipers, planting mines and improvised explosive devices, and disrupted negotiations to open relief crossings, exchanging all prisoners and kidnappers, escalated their military operations, and the humanitarian situation worsened,” Eryani added.

He pointed out that “the same thing happened when the National Army approached the capital, Sanaa, on the two fronts of Nihm and Sirwah, and the international community intervened to stop the army’s advance and pledged to hold talks to reach a comprehensive and sustainable political solution. It turned out that the matter was nothing but a Houthi-Iranian maneuver to gain time and re-arrange their ranks and escalate their military operations again.”

Eryani expressed his regret, “for such trends, while the scenes of Iranian Houthi missiles targeting Aden airport are still fresh in minds, and they are still falling on the heads of civilians in Marib and Taiz, and their shells and snipers are claiming the lives of women and children, and hundreds of politicians and activists are absent in their detention centers, and their drones are attacking neighboring countries.”

“These facts confirm that canceling the classification will contribute to complicating the Yemeni crisis, prolonging the coup, and exacerbate the human suffering resulting from the war triggered by Houthis, and make peace out of the reach of the Yemenis, and it will represent a free gift to the Tehran regime, strengthening its subversive policies in the region and threatening international interests.”

He affirmed that the issuance of a decision in this direction “would represent a great disappointment to the Yemeni people.”

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