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Five dead, 30 hurt in missile strike on Yemen's Marib

Yemeni pro-government fighters from the Giants Brigade, gather on the outskirts of Ataq city, east of the Red Sea port of Aden, on their way to the frontline facing  Ansar Allah fighters, on Friday. - AFP
Yemeni pro-government fighters from the Giants Brigade, gather on the outskirts of Ataq city, east of the Red Sea port of Aden, on their way to the frontline facing Ansar Allah fighters, on Friday. - AFP

ADEN: At least five people were killed and 34 injured in what Yemeni-government media said was a Ansar Allah missile strike on Marib city on Wednesday night, state news agency SABA said on Friday.


A resident and a medical source said a missile on Wednesday had fallen next to a military building in the Al Matar area.


Marib city is the Yemeni government's last northern stronghold. It sits in an energy-producing region which has been the focus of fighting over the past year, during which Ansar Allah forces advanced towards the city.


The fighting for Marib has dashed UN-led ceasefire efforts as both sides ramped up military operations.


Aid agency Save the Children late on Thursday said 28 civilians had been killed or injured and that international law must be respected in Yemen's seven-year conflict.


"Civilians must be spared the horrors of ongoing fighting," it said in a Twitter post.


In the past few weeks Ansar Allah fighters have launched a number of missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, which leads a coalition backing the government's fight against the Ansar Allah, and two unprecedented attacks on the United Arab Emirates, a coalition member.


The Saudi-led coalition has in recent weeks stepped up air strikes on Ansar Allah-held areas in Yemen, including on a detention centre which killed around 90 people.


UAE REACTION


Meanwhile, vowing a robust defence, a senior Emirati official said on Thursday that Ansar Allah attacks will not become a "new normal" for the United Arab Emirates.


"This is not going to be the new normal for the UAE," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.


"We refuse to acquiesce to the threat of Ansar Allah terror that targets our people and way of life," the official added.


The United States had asked its citizens on Wednesday to reconsider travel to the Emirates "due to the threat of missile or drone attacks".


But the UAE official stood firm on Thursday that the Gulf country was "ready to defend itself".


"We remain one of the most secure countries in the world, and the recent attacks have only strengthened our commitment to safeguarding the welfare of our residents," the official said.


While the UAE's main economic mainstay comes from exporting oil, it also relies on tourism and foreign investments.


Foreigners make up 90 per cent of its 10-million population.


The Emirates has had a major role in the military coalition backing Yemen's internationally-recognised government against the Ansar Allah.


The Ansar Allah fighters have warned of further attacks on the UAE.


"The UAE has world class defence capabilities and is constantly seeking to update them," said the official.


"In addition to annual upgrades, the UAE works with its international partners to obtain advanced systems and technology to deter and counter threats to our national security."


The official also said that the Ansar Allah "must be" designated as a terrorist organisation.


"We are in talks with our US allies to secure this terrorist designation in reflection of the group's relentless brutality against civilians inside and beyond Yemen," said the official.


Former US president Donald Trump designated the Ansar Allah as a terrorist movement but the administration of President Joe Biden scrapped that in response concerns from aid groups responding to what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.


Biden's administration has, however, sanctioned individual Ansar Allah figures.


The Yemen conflict, which erupted in 2014, has killed hundreds of thousands of people directly or indirectly and left millions on the brink of famine, according to the UN.


US TRAVEL WARNING


The US State Department on Thursday urged Americans who may be considering travel to the United Arab Emirates to reconsider, citing the threat of missile or drone attacks.


The department retained the highest level warning for the UAE in its updated travel advisory. It had already urged Americans against travelling to the country because of Covid-19. AFP/Reuters


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