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Missile attack kills at least 180 Saudi-led troops

Saudi forces in Yemen (file photo)

At least 180 Saudi-led troops are killed after Yemen's army fires a ballistic missile at a military base in retaliation for heavy bombing and capture of two Yemeni towns despite a ceasefire. 

The army, backed by Houthi fighters, launched a Tochka ballistic missile at the military camp in Yemen’s west-central province of Ma’rib Friday afternoon, the Arabic-language al-Masirah news website reported.

The fatalities include a number of Saudi officers and military personnel, it said. The website had earlier put the toll at 120.

A military source said Yemeni forces had also fired two Qaher 1 ballistic missiles at the Najran region in southwestern Saudi Arabia. The counterattacks, the source said, came after Saudi Arabia's violation of the ceasefire.

Since the truce came into effect on Tuesday, the kingdom has escalated its heavy bombing of Yemen and forces loyal to pro-Saudi Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi have overrun two towns. 

According to a Yemeni army spokesman, Saudi warplanes have conducted more than 300 airstrikes against Yemen ever since the ceasefire. 

On Friday, Saudi aircraft bombed a residential building in the northwestern province of Sa’ada, killing 23 people, including a four-member family and medical staff, Yemen’s official Saba Net news agency said.

Militants loyal to the fugitive former president Hadi also captured Hazm, the provincial capital of the Jawf province in Yemen's north, taking advantage of the UN-backed ceasefire. A day earlier, pro-Hadi militants crossed over from the Saudi border and seized the northwestern town of Harad. 

The attacks came after Houthi representatives attended UN-brokered peace talks in Switzerland with the aim of reaching a permanent ceasefire in Yemen.

Yemeni peace talks in the city of Magglingen in northern Switzerland, December 15, 2015 (Photo by AFP)

The talks have so far resulted in the exchange of hundreds of prisoners and an agreement on a full and immediate resumption of humanitarian assistance to conflict-stricken areas in southern Yemen but the latest escalation threatens to derail the truce.

Saudi Arabia started military attacks against Yemen in late March in a bid to undermine Ansarullah and bring Hadi back to power. More than 7,500 people have been killed and over 14,000 others injured since March.


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