06/14/2021, 11.00
SAUDI ARABIA - YEMEN
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Drone with Houthi bombs hits a school in the Saudi province of Asir

There were no casualties or injuries in the attack. The raid threatens to hamper international diplomacy efforts for a ceasefire in Yemen, which has been at war for seven years. Riyadh wants to ease military pressure to foster political dialogue. The Shiite rebels continue the Marib offensive.

Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A drone loaded with bombs launched by the Yemen Houthi rebels into Saudi territory has crashed into a school. Local sources report that the attack, which took place yesterday did not cause victims or injuries among the students of the institute. However, the raid risks hindering the growing efforts of international diplomacy to reach a definitive ceasefire in the Arab country, which has been at war for seven years now.

According to reports from the official Saudi agency Spa today, the drone attack hit a school in the southern province of Asir, which in the past was the target of rockets launched across the border by pro-Tehran rebels. The photos taken by the civil protection and posted by the agency show the roof of the damaged building and, in the surrounding area, parts and components of the drone (in the photo).

The raid comes three days after a unilateral declaration by the Saudi-led Arab coalition, which had announced the end of military operations in Yemen. Coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki stressed that the easing of military pressure aims to "prepare the political ground for a peace process in Yemen".

Shortly after the statement, the Saudi media relaunched the news of the death of eight civilians and the wounding of 27 others during attacks in the northern city of Marib (the last government stronghold in the north); the area has been the subject of an offensive by the Houthis for months to control local oil fields.

Earlier this month, Oman officials - who have long mediated in regional conflicts, particularly between Riyadh and Tehran - visited Sanaa to try to persuade the rebels to accept a ceasefire.

The effort to guarantee peace in Yemen follows the attempt to resume diplomatic dialogues between the Islamic Republic and the Wahhabi kingdom, with a first meeting between the parties in April after the interruption of diplomatic relations in 2016.

The war in Yemen began in 2014 as an internal conflict between pro-Saudi government and Shiite Houthi rebels close to Iran. It degenerated in March 2015 with the intervention of the Arab coalition led by Riyadh and has registered over 10 thousand dead and 55 thousand injured. Independent bodies set the toll (between January 2016 and the end of July 2018) at about 57 thousand deaths.

For the UN the conflict has triggered "the worst humanitarian crisis in the world", about 24 million Yemenis (80% of the population) urgently need humanitarian assistance.  The coronavirus pandemic has had even more devastating impact with a healthcare system that has collapsed. Millions of people are on the verge of starvation and experts say children will suffer the consequences for the next 20 years.

 

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