Houthis kill over 100 Yemeni soldiers in missile, drone attack on base

On Saturday, a deadly coordinated attack struck a Yemeni military training base in the central province of Marib. At least 116 people have been killed in the strike, which reportedly utilized both ballistic missiles and armed drones.

According to local officials, several missiles and drones were fired into the base as Yemeni troops were heading to the base’s mosque for evening prayers.

While it is currently unknown how many armed drones were used in the attack, Al Jazeera has reported that three ballistic missiles struck inside the base.

The Iranian-backed Houthi movement is largely seen as being responsible for the attack, though it has not issued a formal statement of responsibility as of the time of publishing.

The initial death toll was reported at 60 Yemeni soldiers, however, this has gradually increased since Saturday.

Yesterday, officials reported that 83 troops were killed and another 148 wounded. Today, Yemeni authorities told the Associated Press that the number is currently at 116 and expected to rise.

This makes Saturday’s strike one of the deadliest attacks in the conflict inside Yemen since 2014.

Both Saudi Arabia and UAE have condemned the barrage, charging the Houthi movement with deliberately targeting the mosque. The strike came after several recent Saudi-led coalition assaults on Houthi forces east of Sana’a.

Coordinated strikes utilizing both ballistic missiles and drones has become a common tactic of the Houthi insurgency. Last August, at least 30 members of the Security Belt forces, a militia with strong ties to the United Arab Emirates, were killed in a similar attack on their base in Aden.

The rate of ballistic missiles and drones being utilized against the Saudi-backed coalition has slowed drastically since ceasefires were announced by both sides of the conflict last fall.

While these attacks still occur, they happen at a much slower rate than last summer and the Houthis have stopped claiming most missile or drone strikes altogether.

According to a database compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal, the Houthis have utilized at least 299 ballistic missiles since June 2015 and have conducted at least 119 drone strikes since April 2018.

[FDD’s Long War Journal has tracked and mapped over 400 Houthi ballistic and cruise missile launches, drone strikes, and naval attacks since June 2015. For more information, see the three-part series: Houthi missiles, dronesnaval attacks.]

Caleb Weiss is a contributor to FDD's Long War Journal.

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