By Luis Arellano
Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have taken some provocative actions in recent days which may threaten the country’s fragile cease-fire.
“The Badr-1-P ballistic missiles targeted gatherings of Saudi troops in two separate military bases, one in Najran and the other in Asir,” said a statement from the Houthi rebels that appeared to announce new strikes on the Saudi-led coalition.
In a separate incident a Houthi attack on Taiz, one of Yemen’s largest cities, on Tuesday left one woman dead.
Meanwhile, Iranian media-outlets accused international forces of committing their own cease fire violation.
The Houthi rebellion in Yemen provoked an international intervention led by Saudi Arabia in 2015 to restore the government of Yemen to power under the terms of a United Nations mandate.
The rebels maybe using the ceasefire to re-arm for another round of fighting. A French media site reported this week that the Yemeni government intercepted a truck loaded with Kalashnikov rifles and rocket-propelled grenades that ultimately arrived in Yemen from Qatar. With Yemeni government reportedly believing a Yemeni national living in Qatar as coordinating the smuggling.
The Al Mahra region where the weapons were recovered is in the far east of Yemen where it borders the Sultanate of Oman. The report claims that the weapons were smuggled in parts to Salalah, one of the busiest ports on the Arabian Peninsula and in a region of Oman that borders the Al-Mahra region.
Renewed hostilities could endanger the humanitarian situation in a country with one of the world’s worst conditions of food insecurity. Still, international humanitarian groups continue to operate in the country and with the cease-fire at least nominally in place. The Red Cross is committed to seeing through a prisoner exchange as part of the cease-fire agreement the announced today.
“We are preparing to provide medical assistance to detainees in need, and two planes, each with a capacity of 200 passengers, to shuttle detainees between Sanaa and Sayoun,” said Fabrizio Carboni, the regional director for the Middle East for the International Committee of the Red Cross in a statement to a Emirati media outlet.
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