At least 17 killed after Houthi attack hits crowded petrol station

Missile struck as people queued for fuel in the Yemeni city of Marib

FILE PHOTO: A Yemeni government fighter fires a vehicle-mounted weapon at a frontline position during fighting against Houthi fighters in Marib, Yemen March 9, 2021. Picture taken March 9, 2021. REUTERS/Ali Owidha/File Photo
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At least 17 civilians were killed and five injured on Saturday after a Houthi missile struck a petrol station in the northwestern Yemeni city of Marib.

A medical source based in the city told The National that 14 people were killed by the initial blast as they queued for fuel.

After striking the station, the rebels then targeted two ambulances with a booby-trapped drone, killing three additional people.

"The fuel station is located in a residential neighbourhood just a kilometre from a camp for internally displaced people in the northwest the city of Marib", Mohammed Hafeedh a resident based in the city told The National.

"Dozens of those who were queuing for fuel were killed and others badly injured, among them more than four children," Mr Hafeedh said, adding that a little girl aged five was seriously burnt in the blast.

The Houthi attack on the fuel station sparked an outcry amongst many people in Yemen.

The Yemeni government condemned the Houthi strike and called upon the international community to put an end to recent similar attacks.

"We strongly condemn the carnage resulted from the Houthi shelling which targeted a crowded fuel station and call on the UN and the international community to stop the Houthi crimes against the civilians which amount to war crimes," Ahmed Arman, Yemen Minister of Legal Affairs and Human Rights said.

Minister of Information Moamer Al Eryani called on UN and US envoys to Yemen to reinstate Houthis militias to international terror lists, and to prosecute its leaders as war criminals.

"This heinous terrorist crime is a continuation of a deliberate targeting of residential areas and civilians in Marib by the Houthi militia to inflict high casualties among civilians," Mr Al Eryani wrote on Twitter.

It comes as a high ranking diplomatic delegation from Oman arrived in Sana'a early on Saturday in a bid to push Houthi rebels to engage with a UN sponsored peace plan.

The visit of the delegation came after US authorities blamed the rebels for failure of a ceasefire to take hold and accused them of not taking steps to end the brutal conflict.

"While there are numerous problematic actors inside of Yemen, the Houthis bear major responsibility for refusing to engage meaningfully on a ceasefire and to take steps to resolve a nearly seven-year conflict that has brought unimaginable suffering to the Yemeni people," the US State Department said on Friday.