AL-MUKALLA: Four Yemeni troops and two civilians were killed on Friday in a Houthi missile strike on a village in the Yemeni province of Lahj, as the militia increased attacks on government-controlled regions in the province and elsewhere.
A local military official told Arab News that a Houthi-launched guided missile targeted a military vehicle transporting troops and residents in Qadash village, north of Lahj province, killing six people — four soldiers and two civilians — and injuring numerous more.
The strike spurred southern pro-independence troops to counterattack by heavily bombing Houthi-controlled sections of the province.
Also in Lahj, a Yemeni government soldier was killed in skirmishes with the Houthis in disputed parts of the province’s Tur Al-Bahah district on Saturday.
Local officials and media reports said that the Houthis assaulted separatist troops in Tur Al-Bahah district’s Hayfan region in an attempt to gain territory, resulting in the violence that ended when the militia ceased its offensive.
Dozens of civilians and combatants have been killed in skirmishes across Yemen since a UN-brokered truce expired in early October.
The truce that came into effect on April 2 significantly decreased violence throughout Yemen, allowed fuel tankers to enter Hodeidah port and also permitted thousands of Yemenis to fly commercially from Sanaa.
The Houthis refused to extend the truce as well as pay public employees in regions under their control.
They also rejected proposals to partially lift their siege of Taiz, Yemen’s third biggest city.
On Friday, the militia ignored international demands for it to stop attacks on government-controlled oil installations, reiterating the threat against oil tankers that transport Yemeni oil shipments to foreign markets.
Hussein Al-Azzi, deputy Houthi foreign minister, blasted US, UK and French diplomats who asked the militia to cease targeting oil infrastructure, threatening to continue attacks until the Yemeni government agreed to share income from oil sales.
“Sanaa will keep guarding the populace’s assets and won’t give up until all theft and looting activities come to an end and vanish completely,” the Houthi official said.
The Yemeni government declared the Houthis a terrorist group last month and demanded that the international community follow suit after the militia launched drone attacks on two oil ports in Hadramout and Shabwa.
The Houthis carried further drone assaults on commercial ports including Al-Mukalla in Hadramout and Qana in Shabwa.