Continuous escalation in Yemen.. Guterres condemns the raids on Saada prison and the coalition denies responsibility for the attack

The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen announced that it had confronted a ballistic missile launched by the Houthis towards the city of Khamis Mushait in the south of the kingdom, while Houthi media reported that the coalition raided on Friday evening Sanaa airport and sites in the governorates of Amran and Saada.

For his part, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the coalition’s raids on a detention center in the Yemeni city of Saada on Friday, killing and wounding dozens, and called for prompt and transparent investigations into these incidents to ensure accountability.

In statements to reporters, Guterres also called for a halt to the escalation in Yemen and an end to what he described as a vicious circle that exacerbates the situation, adding that Yemen needs a ceasefire, the opening of ports and airports, and the start of a serious dialogue to resolve the crisis in Yemen.

The UN call comes at a time when the military escalation continues in Yemen, where the coalition said in a statement yesterday evening, Friday, that the Saudi defenses had destroyed a ballistic missile fired towards the city of Khamis Mushait, adding that the Houthis deliberately targeted a commercial center there. He also announced the targeting of Houthi sites in Hodeidah and Marib.

In a statement issued by its leadership early this morning, the coalition denied targeting a detention center in Saada Governorate, and said that the reports circulated about our targeting of a detention center in Saada were untrue.

The Houthi Ministry of Health had confirmed that the casualties of the raid that targeted the inmates of the reserve prison in Saada had risen to 223, including 77 dead.

In turn, Houthi media announced that the coalition raided on Friday evening Sana’a airport and a communications center in Amran governorate, in addition to two raids on the “Majz” area in Saada.

American concern

For his part, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the escalation that is taking place in Yemen, which has resulted in more than 100 casualties in recent days, is a source of great concern to the United States.

In a statement, Blinken indicated that his country was aware of reports of an attack by coalition forces on a detention center that killed at least 70 people.

The foreign minister said his country calls on the parties to the conflict to stop escalation and commit to a peaceful diplomatic solution to end the conflict by complying with their obligations under international law and participating in a comprehensive peace process led by the United Nations.

Blinken expressed his country’s concern over the continuation of the recent escalation in Yemen and called for it to be stopped immediately (Reuters)

In the same context, the US State Department said that Blinken had a phone call with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, in which he condemned the Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia and the UAE last Monday.

The State Department reported that Blinken renewed Washington’s commitment to helping Gulf partners improve their defense capabilities against threats from Yemen and elsewhere in the region. He also stressed the importance of mitigating harm to civilians.

Hodeidah Agreement

In a related context, the United Nations Mission in Support of the Hodeidah Agreement expressed its deep concern over the recent military attacks in the city of Hodeidah in western Yemen, which resulted in the killing of a number of civilians and the injury of others.

In a statement, the mission called on the parties to the conflict to fulfill their obligations to protect civilians in order to avoid causing more injuries and loss of life, and damage to infrastructure and public buildings.

The Houthis had said that a coalition raid had targeted the communications building in the city of Hodeidah, killing 4 civilians and wounding others.

For its part, the International Committee of the Red Cross said that facilities used for detention in Saada Governorate, Yemen, were attacked early yesterday morning, killing and wounding more than 100 detainees.

It also expressed its deep concern over the intensification of hostilities over the past few days, including the attacks that targeted cities in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and stressed the need to protect the lives of people living in the midst of armed conflicts, noting that these human losses in Yemen cannot be accepted.

It called on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to spare the blood of civilians, and to preserve the facilities and infrastructure necessary for the survival of the population.

Al Dhafra base

Defense News reported that a missile defense system developed by the US army and acquired by the UAE, intercepted a ballistic missile last Monday near the Al Dhafra air base, where US and French forces are stationed, according to two informed sources.

The website, which specializes in military affairs, quoted congressional aides as saying that American lawmakers are generally open to Abu Dhabi’s requests to acquire defensive weapons, but Emirati officials are likely to face questions about their country’s growing relations with China and accusations that their forces are interfering in the ongoing war in Libya.

A Senate aide said it could take years to provide the Emiratis with the equipment they demand.

Last Monday, the Houthi group in Yemen announced that it had carried out a military operation, which it described as qualitative in the depth of the UAE, and confirmed the targeting of vital facilities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai by drones and ballistic and winged missiles, which resulted in 3 deaths of Indian and Pakistani nationals.

Yemen has been witnessing for nearly 7 years a continuous war between the pro-government forces backed by an Arab military alliance led by the neighboring Saudi Arabia, and the Iranian-backed Houthis, who have controlled several governorates, including the capital, Sanaa, since September 2014.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands, displaced millions and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.

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