Houthis continue shelling border as air strikes halt

Rockets and shells continue to target Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen during ceasefire as air strikes halted

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Rockets and shells launched from Iranian backed Houthi areas continued to hit regions within the Saudi Arabian border on Wednesday despite the start of a humanitarian ceasefire in the country.

A Saudi Defence Ministry official was quoted telling the Saudi Press Agency that “At 10:00am (0700 GMT) on Wednesday, rockets fell on the regions of Najran and Jazan, and [rebel] Houthi militia sniper fire was detected, but there were no casualties.”

He also stated that Saudi soldiers along the border "practised self-restraint as part of their commitment to the humanitarian truce which was decided by coalition forces.”

Brig. Gen. Ahmed al Assiri, the spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition, also emphasised the alliance’s intention to hold the ceasefire.

"We are committed to respect this,” he said, however the coalition would continue its "intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance” operations.

Assiri also told the French state-run AFP news agency that “We (the coalition) will be ready to react to any violation of the pause.”

The attacks came just hours after a humanitarian ceasefire called for by the Arab coalition came into effect.

The ceasefire was proposed in a joint press conference between Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

“A cease-fire does not mean peace,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said, urging all parties in Yemen to return to the negotiating table to reach a political solution in order to end the conflict, which has claimed at least 828 civilian lives, according to UN data.

The attacks came as the Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report regarding the “indiscriminate” nature of Houthi cross-border attacks.

“Pro-Houthi forces have launched apparently dozens of artillery rockets from northern Yemen indiscriminately into southern Saudi Arabia since May 5, 2015,” the report said regarding the attacks that killed 12 and wounded dozens more.

“Pro-Houthi forces should stop using unguided rockets against populated areas,” the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report continued in condemnation of the attacks. “Unguided rockets cannot target military objectives with any accuracy. When directed towards populated areas, they are indiscriminate, violating the laws of war, and may amount to war crimes.”

HRW Middle East and North Africa director Sarah Leah Whitson was quoted in the report saying that “Pro-Houthi forces are killing and wounding Saudi civilians with artillery rockets that cannot be aimed at valid military targets.

“Houthi commanders need to stop their indiscriminate attacks or they can be liable for war crimes.”

TRTWorld and agencies