Houthi missiles target 'Saudi soldier gatherings' along border

Houthi missiles target 'Saudi soldier gatherings' along border
The Houthi rebel group shot two Zelzal-1 missiles targeting 'gatherings of Saudi soldiers' in Jizan and Najran, al-Masirah TV said in a tweet on Sunday.

3 min read
27 August, 2018
The coalition has not yet confirmed the attacks [Getty]

Yemen's Houthi rebels fired two missiles toward the Saudi kingdom on Sunday, according to the rebel-run al-Masirah TV.

The rebel group shot Zelzal-1 missiles targeting "gatherings of Saudi soldiers" in Jizan and Najran, al-Masirah TV said in a tweet on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia, which is leading a coalition battling the rebels in Yemen, has yet to confirm the attacks.

Last week, the Saudi-led coalition denied it had been hit by a Houthi rebel attack saying it had foiled a booby-trapped boat attack by Yemen's rebels in the Red Sea weeks, after the rebels hit a Saudi oil tanker.

A statement cited by state-run al-Ekhbariya news channel did not identify the target of the attack but the rebel-run Saba news agency, said the Houthis hit a Saudi military target inside the kingdom's territorial waters.

The coalition statement said "the terrorist attack by a booby-trapped boat was launched from the shores of Hodeida", a city off the strategic Bab al-Mandeb straits.

The coalition, which has been fighting the Houthi militias since March 2015, accused the rebels and the Iranian revolutionary guards of continuing to threaten international navigation routes and world trade.

It also reaffirmed that the protection of the Bab al-Mandeb waterway is an international responsibility.

Last month, the Houthi rebels hit a giant Saudi oil tanker in the strategic waterway off Yemen coast causing minor damage.

'War crimes'

Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has been leading a military campaign to restore the internationally recognised government to power and push back the Houthis, who still hold the capital Sanaa.

The conflict has killed more than 10,000 people since then, the vast majority of them civilians, and caused the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN.

The coalition has been repeatedly blamed for bombing civilians, including a strike on a wedding hall in the Red Sea coastal town of Mokha in September 2015, in which 131 people died.

A report released on Thursday said the Saudi-led coalition's investigations into alleged war crimes in Yemen lack credibility and have failed to end deadly attacks against civilians in the country.

Human Rights Watch analysed the work of the coalition's investigative body - the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) - over the past two years.

A 90-page-report by the rights group found that JIAT's work falls short of international standards of transparency, impartiality, and independence, and reaches dubious conclusions demonstrating flawed analysis of the laws of war.

"For more than two years, the coalition has claimed that JIAT was credibly investigating allegedly unlawful airstrikes, but the investigators were doing little more than covering up war crimes," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

"Governments selling arms to Saudi Arabia should recognize that the coalition's sham investigations do not protect them from being complicit in serious violations in Yemen."

The vast majority of JIAT's public conclusions about accusations of war crimes found the coalition acted lawfully, did not carry out the reported attack, or made an "unintentional" mistake, HRW said.

HRW has called on coalition member countries to investigate alleged violations and appropriately prosecute people responsible for war crimes, including Saudi and Emirati commanders, whose countries play key roles in coalition military operations.

The UN Security Council should consider sanctions on senior coalition commanders who share responsibility for repeated violations.

"The failure of the coalition's investigative body to carry out credible inquiries and take appropriate action reinforces the urgency for UN Human Rights Council members to renew and strengthen the UN inquiry into violations by all parties in Yemen," Whitson said.