CAIRO (Dispatches) – Yemen’s Houthi fighters and their allies in the army attacked a military training camp in the Yemeni city of Marib on Saturday, killing at least 80 Saudi mercenaries and wounding dozens others, reports said on Sunday.
Saudi state television Al Ekhbariya quoted sources as saying the attack on the Al-Nasr camp, located about 170km east of the capital Sanaa, was carried out with ballistic missiles and drones.
A medical source at a Marib city hospital, where casualties were transported, said that at least 83 Saudi mercenaries were killed and 148 others injured in the strike.
The huge casualty list in Marib represents one of the bloodiest single attacks since Saudi Arabia launched a war on Yemen in 2015.
Qahtan, a Saudi mercenary in Marib, told Middle East Eye two missiles had been fired at the camp.
The attack came a day after Saudi mercenaries launched a large-scale operation in the Naham region, north of Sanaa, after months of relative calm in the wake of a unilateral ceasefire announced by the Houthis.
Fighting in Naham was ongoing on Sunday, a military source said, according to the official Saba news agency.
The Saudi mercenaries at Al-Nasr originally fled from Aden to Shabwa in the summer and then had been relocated to Marib province at the end of last year.
Early in August 2019, battles broke out between the pro-Hadi forces and the so-called Security Belt Forces (SBF) backed by the United Arab of Emirates.
The SBF took over Aden and the Saudi-backed mercenaries withdrew to Shabwa.
Later on, battles broke out in Shabwa and Saudi-backed mercenaries decided at the end of 2019 to relocate his men to the northern province of Marib.
Saudi Arabia established Al-Nasr military camp in Marib and started to receive other pro-Hadi militants fleeing from Aden.
Muhammad Taher, a fighter in Marib who is originally from Taiz province, said Marib was not safe for the pro-Hadi forces and that they should return the south.
"Large parts of Marib province are still under the control of the Houthis and Al-Nasr military camp is less than 30km from the Houthis so it is not safe,” he said.
Taher said Marib had been the only choice for the Saudi-backed forces who had fled from the south as they did not have any other safe place to go.
"This attack [on Al-Nasr] will lead the leadership to reconsider their presence in Marib and they may relocate the forces to another province,” Taher added.
Up to 100,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions displaced since 2015, when Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in the conflict to reinstate the former regime of president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi who had resigned and fled the country.
The Saudi war, which the United Nations says has caused the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.