ADEN (Dispatches) – Yemen’s Houthi fighters fired a missile at the Saudi military headquarters in the city of Maarib on Wednesday during a visit by the self-proclaimed defense minister of former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, killing at least seven troops and injuring a dozen others, local officials said.
The base is the main military facility overseeing a Saudi ground offensive aimed at recapturing the capital Sanaa, administered by Houthis since 2014, which lies 120 km (75 miles) to the west of Maarib.
There was no immediate confirmation from the Saudi military, which has been waging a ferocious war on Yemen for more than four years.
But Saudi-owned news channel Al-Arabiya said seven soldiers were killed in the attack.
Muhammad al-Maqdishi, the self-proclaimed defense minister of Hadi, and Saudi military officers were in the compound at the time, the officials said.
The Saudi military spokesman did not respond to a request for comment, Reuters said.
The Saudi war has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed millions to the brink of famine.
Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen in 2015 to restore Hadi to power, who is now based in the southern port city of Aden. It has carried out thousands of airstrikes on Yemen, destroying the impoverished country’s most civilian infrastructures.
Last week, Houthi forces fired missiles and drones at the Red Sea port city of Al-Mokha, causing deaths and injuries.
The group, which holds Sanaa and most of Yemen’s big urban centers, has carried out brazen missile attacks inside Saudi Arabia in retaliation for the kingdom’s airstrikes.
Several reports have recently said the occupying regime of Israel has offered to help Saudi Arabia and has already carried out airstrikes inside Yemen.
On Tuesday, Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi delivered a grave warning to the Zionist regime against committing any "foolish act” after controversial remarks by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu about Yemen.
"Should Israel perpetrate any foolish act against our nation…our nation would not hesitate to announce a struggle down the divine path against this enemy (Israel),” al-Houthi said in an address on the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him).
"Nor would we hesitate to deliver deadly blows to Israel and attack the extremely sensitive targets belonging to the usurping regime of Israel,” he added.
His remarks came after Netanyahu claimed that Iran sought to strike Israel from Yemen, using surgical missiles.
"Iran wants to develop precision-guided missiles that can hit any target in Israel within five to ten meters,” Netanyahu claimed in a speech in the occupied Jerusalem Al-Quds. "Iran hopes to use Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen as bases to attack Israel with statistical missiles and precision-guided missiles. That is a great, great danger,” he added.
Reuters which carried Netanyahu’s remarks said they served as "a signal” that Yemen "could come under pre-emptive Israeli attack”.
Al-Houthi, however, said, "The criminal Zionists’ remarks are repetitive.”
"And most remarkable among them (are those of) Zionist war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu, who depicts Yemen as a threat to Israel, and is trying to link this issue to Iran — as is Israel’s wont,” he added.
The movement has invariably voiced support for the Palestinian cause in the face of Israeli aggression.
Al-Houthi said, "Our position of animosity towards Israel — as a plundering regime and the enemy of our Muslim nation — is a value-driven, humanitarian, and moral one as well as being a religious commitment, a position that we share with the freedom-seeking and honorable people of our Muslim nation."
On Tuesday, the Houthi political bureau strongly condemned Israel’s assassination of a senior Palestinian resistance commander, calling it "treacherous and cowardly”, Yemen’s Al-Masirah television network reported.
The statement said Tel Aviv would not have dared to stage the attack had it not been emboldened by some Arab and Persian Gulf regimes’ rush over the recent years to normalize relations with the occupying regime.
The movement has been defending Yemen against a 2015-present invasion led by Saudi Arabia, one of the Arab states that have been trying rapprochement with Israel.
The statement praised the Palestinian resistance fighters for launching a retaliatory rocket barrage into the occupied lands after the assassination, and their defense of the Palestinian "dignity, freedom, independence, and sanctities.”
It also reiterated the Yemeni people’s alignment with the Palestinian resistance in all the steps and deterrent measures they take against "this brutal Zionist arrogance”, Al-Masirah said.