(FiveNation.com)- In one of the deadliest attacks in Yemen’s civil war, at least thirty Yemeni troops were killed on Sunday after a missile and drone attack on the al-Anad Air Base in the southern province of Lahj. At least another sixty-five were wounded.
According to Mohammed al-Naqib, spokesman for Yemen’s southern forces, as rescue teams continue clearing the site, the casualty toll is likely to rise. As yet, no group claimed responsibility for the attack in which at least three separate explosions took place.
Yemen has been in the midst of a bloody civil war since 2014 when Iranian-backed Houthi rebels swept through much of the north and seized the capital, Sanaa, forcing the Yemeni government into exile.
The following year, a Saudi-led coalition entered the war backing the internationally-recognized exiled government.
In Sunday’s attack, a ballistic missile landed in the base’s training area where dozens of troops were engaged in morning calisthenics. One soldier who was wounded in the attack said that a barracks housing over fifty troops was also hit by missiles as well as explosives-laded drones.
Most of the wounded were transported to the nearby hospital where doctors said many remained in critical condition suffering from third-degree burns.
Yemeni officials blamed the Houthis for the attack on al-Anad Air Base – once the site of US intelligence operations against the Houthis.
The soldiers killed or wounded belonged to the pro-government Giants Brigades which are backed by the UAE – the central pillar in the Saudi-led pro-government coalition.
A spokesman for the Iranian-backed Houthis neither confirmed nor denied involvement in Sunday’s attack. However, it is strikingly similar to previous Houthi attacks – including the January 2019 bomb-laden drone attack on the same air base while killed six.
In December 2020, the Houthis also launched a missile attack on the airport in the southern city of Aden just as government officials arrived. At least twenty-five people were killed and another 110 wounded in that attack.
Sunday’s attack on al-Anad came as Houthi rebels, facing stiff resistance from pro-government forces, suffered heavy losses in their months-long attempt to take the crucial city of Marib. Thousands of fighters, mostly from the Houthis, have been killed in recent months in Marib.