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Arab Coalition destroys Houthi drone centre as world condemns attack

The United States and United Nations have voiced alarm over Houthi escalation

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A Saudi-led military coalition destroyed a communication and control centre used to direct drones deployed by Yemen’s Houthi group, Saudi state TV al-Ekhbariya reported on Friday, citing a coalition statement.

Drones belonging to the Iranian-aligned movement attacked a Yemeni government military parade in the southern province of Lahaj on Thursday, killing several people, Saudi and Houthi media reported.

The United States and United Nations voiced alarm on Friday over the escalation of violence in Yemen and urged restraint after a rebel drone attack on the country’s largest airbase killed six loyalist soldiers.

The United States, which supports the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi rebels, said it “strongly condemns” the strike on a military parade at Al Anad air base.

The attack, which killed six and wounded at least 12 people including top commanders, came a month after the warring sides agreed at talks in Sweden on a truce in the rebel-held port of Hodeidah, a key aid gateway for the country where some 14 million are on the brink of famine.

The UAE called on the international community to pressure the Houthi rebels and blamed them for the slow progress of peace efforts.

The “murderous drone attack tells you everything you need about the Houthis. Peace negotiations are a tactic to them, not a commitment,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash tweeted on Friday.

On the same day, Britain on Friday presented a United Nations Security Council draft resolution that would expand an international observer mission monitoring a ceasefire in Yemen and allow humanitarian aid to reach millions on the brink of famine.

The council is expected to vote on the measure next week, diplomats aid.

The mission would provide for the deployment of up to 75 monitors in the rebel-held city of Hodeida and its port along with the ports of Saleef and Ras Issa for an initial period of six months, according to the draft.

“This attack contravenes the spirit of the Hodeidah ceasefire and the progress made last month at the UN-led talks in Sweden,” State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement.

“We urge all sides to honor the commitments they made in Sweden to their fellow Yemenis by refraining from violence and provocative acts,” he said.

UN envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths said separately that he was “alarmed” by the drone attack, which came as he was hoping for further progress in negotiating an end to the war.

In tweets, he urged “all parties to the conflict to exercise restraint and refrain from further escalation” and to “create a conducive environment to maintain the positive momentum generated” in Sweden.

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