Houthis rockets kill seven children in Yemen

Houthis rockets kill seven children in Yemen
Archive photo - Children are victims for the ongoing crisis in Yemen, as all warring parts are killing them

A rocket fired by Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen on Tuesday killed seven children in a residential neighborhood of Marib city, east of the capital, officials said.

The rocket hit a courtyard where the children were playing, said Abdel Ghani Shaalan, Marib’s deputy regional director of security.

Two other rockets hit a house and a shop front, wounding 25 civilians including women and children, he told AFP.

The toll was confirmed by Saleh al-Shaddadi, the director of Marib’s main hospital, where casualties were admitted.

The Houthis launched the Katyusha rockets from Mount Haylan, 15 kilometers (10 miles) west of Marib, Shaalan said.

Marib city and the majority of the surrounding province are held by government forces who are fighting the Shiite militias who control areas to the north and west of the oil-rich region.

The attack in Marib came as Saudi-backed government and Houthi negotiators take a break from peace talks after two months of UN-backed negotiations that have made little progress.

The talks are due to resume on July 15 in Kuwait.

The conflict in Yemen has killed more than 6,400 people dead and wounded 30,000 since the Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015.

The coalition began a military campaign against Houthi militias in March 2015. It sides with the President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, while the Houthis are aligned with ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was ousted after Yemen revolution in 2012.

Who are worse, Houthis or the extremists ?

Both ISIS and al-Qaeda have expanded operations during Yemen’s civil war, and have claimed responsibility for several bombings and suicide attacks in Mukalla and the southern port city of Aden.

However, in April, Yemeni army forces, backed by Saudi-led coalition warplanes, recaptured al-Mukalla, the provincial capital of Hadhramaut province, from al-Qaeda group.

There has been mounting international pressure to end the war on Yemen, which the UN estimates has killed more than 6,400 people and displaced more than 2.8 million.

Yemen has suffered violence and chaos since September 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthis and allied forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh overran capital Sanaa and several other provinces, forcing President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and his government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

In March of last year, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at reversing Houthi gains and restoring Hadi’s embattled government.

In recent months, al-Qaeda has exploited the ongoing conflict between the central government and the Shia Houthi group to bolster its influence in the country’s south.