Terrorism & Insurgency

Yemeni deconfliction efforts likely to be derailed by mass-casualty ballistic missile attack

24 January 2020

Key Points

  • A ballistic missile attack on a military camp in Yemen’s Marib governorate on 18 January killed 111 military personnel and wounded dozens more.
  • Although no claim of responsibility was immediately made, the government blamed the attack on Ansar Allah, which resulted in renewed heavy fighting between Ansar Allah (Houthi) and government forces.
  • The attack will likely derail any progress made towards deconfliction in bilateral Saudi-Ansar Allah talks in recent months.

On 18 January, during evening prayer, a ballistic missile hit a mosque inside Al-Estiqbal military training camp in the government-held city of Marib in central Yemen, killing 111 military personnel and injuring dozens more.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for what is the deadliest attack on record since the onset of the conflict. However, Yemen’s internationally recognised government based in the temporary capital Aden immediately blamed the attack on Iranian-backed Zaidi Shia Muslim militant group Ansar Allah, better known as the Houthis. Ansar Allah took control of the capital Sanaa in September 2014, which prompted a military intervention by a Saudi-led coalition of regional states in March the following year.

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