Blast hits military parade in Yemen, at least five dead


People gather at the scene of a blast which struck a military graduation parade in the town of al-Dhalea, Yemen December 29, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

DUBAI (Reuters) – A missile fired by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group struck a military parade in Yemen’s southern separatist-held town of al-Dhalea, killing at least five people and injuring others, Yemen’s Security Belt forces said on Sunday.

No claim of responsibility was made and Houthi media did not immediately comment on the blast or accusation.

The Security Belt forces are part of a southern separatist front in south Yemen. At the same time, they are backed by the United Arab Emirates in a fight against Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group.

Witnesses told Reuters that a blast occurred near a guest platform during the parade and that many were injured or killed. They reported seeing bodies at the scene.

At least five people died and eight were injured, according to local health authority figures quoted by the Security Belt group and in a statement from the local media office of the forces which control al-Dhalea.

A missile blast struck the military graduation parade area just after the ceremony involving Security Belt forces had finished, the statements said.

Yemen has suffered from almost five years of conflict since the Houthi movement ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government in late 2014. The coup drew military intervention in 2015 by a Saudi-led coalition, which includes the UAE, trying to restore Hadi’s internationally recognized government.

The town of al-Dhalea is controlled by southern separatist forces. It lies on the main south-to-north road linking the southern port of Aden — controlled by Hadi’s government — to the Houthi-controled capital, Sanaa. A contested frontline runs across al-Dhalea province.

In August the Houthis claimed responsibility for a missile and drone attack on a parade in Aden, the seat of the internationally recognized government, killing around 36 people including a prominent commander.

Reporting by Reuters team in Yemen, writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by William Maclean and Louise Heavens

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