Iran-backed Houthi rebels use ‘mother of all missiles’ to target Yemeni troops, officials say

A missile attack from across the border into Yemen on Sunday morning killed 29 and injured at least 51, according to a government official. The casualties occurred after local official Sadeq al-Shami reported that Houthi rebels fired a missile into the Al-Mashhad district of Dahyan in Shabwa province in northwestern Yemen.

The government official said that the missile struck a building used by a religious school and mosque in the area. “It could have caused a great loss if it had landed in a mosque full of worshippers,” he said.

A group of Houthi rebels was killed in the attack, while an unknown number of civilians were also wounded.

The country has been mired in war between Houthi rebels and the government of president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi since 2015. The Houthis, also known as Ansar Allah, belong to a Sunni movement which seeks to expel Shiites, who are allied with Hadi. While there are other Shia groups in Yemen, the Houthis are the only officially recognized faction of the country’s Shiite sect.

In June 2017, the U.S. voted to arm the Houthis with anti-aircraft missiles, arguing that that was the only realistic hope of preventing them from overrunning the south of the country. In December 2017, an Iranian-made TOW missile was fired by the Houthis at a Saudi military base on the Saudi-Yemeni border, the first confirmed attack of its kind on that border. There have been dozens of other incidents that have either targeted Saudi military forces or civilians. U.S. and French combat troops also operate in Yemen, though none are currently in the conflict.

The conflict, which has been dubbed “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” has left nearly 10,000 dead, according to the United Nations.

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