In a major violation of the UN-sponsored ceasefire in Yemen, at least 17 people were killed and scores of others injured after Saudi Arabia’s border guards opened fire across the border in Yemen’s Sa’ada province on Sunday, July 10. Most of the injured were transferred to the nearest hospital in Razih, with some in critical condition, as reported in Yemen’s Saba news.
Sa’ada is at the extreme north-west of the country, sharing a long land border with Saudi Arabia. It is also the place of the origin of the Houthi movement, officially known as Ansar Allah, which is fighting a war against the aggression led by the Saudi-backed international coalition.
The Houthi-led administration in Yemen’s capital of Sanaa deemed the attack on Sunday as “a new violation of the humanitarian and military truce,” which has been implemented since the beginning of April this year under UN sponsorship.
Although the Houthis have often raised the issue of small scale violations of the truce by the Saudi-led coalition, both parties have desisted from launching major offensives against each other. There had been a gradual relaxation of the Saudi coalition’s blockade on Houthi-controlled regions, as well providing relief to the people of Yemen.
On Friday, July 8, Mehdi al-Mashat, head of the Houthi-backed government in Sanaa, had warned that continued violations of the truce by the Saudi-led coalition has put the armistice at crossroads, and demanded an end to all hostilities and the lifting of the blockades on the Sanaa international airport and the Hodeidah port.
The Saudi-led coalition had imposed a complete air, sea and land blockade on Yemen in 2015, preventing all kinds of communication with the outside world. This had choked Houthi-controlled Yemen, where the majority of Yemenis live, depriving them of essential food and medical supplies. The war and the blockade created starvation among millions of Yemeni people, killing hundreds of thousands, creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis according to the UN.
In an interview on RT on Saturday, Basheer Omar, of the International Committee of the Red Cross, cited a recent report which claims that the war in Yemen has created “unimaginable horror,” depriving more than two thirds of the country’s nearly 30 million population of basic healthcare.
Eviction at Abd al-Khuri
The Houthis have also accused the Saudi led coalition of expropriating Yemen’s natural resources, such as oil, and preventing crucial humanitarian supplies by seizing ships headed to the Hodeidah port. The Houthi administration has also accused the Saudi coalition of expropriating Yemeni land in the country’s Socotra island.
An official statement issued by the Sanaa government on July 6 claimed that the UAE forces have forcefully evicted hundreds of residents from the island of Abd al-Khuri, a part of the Socotra archipelago, to make way for a permanent military base. Abd-al-Khuri is a small island of around 450 residents, situated around 105 kilometers from the main Socotra island.
The UAE is one of the most important constituents of the Saudi-led international coalition that has been waging war against Yemen since 2015. The coalition’s actions in Abd al-Khuri are a violation of international laws related to occupied territories.
The Houthi-backed government in Sanaa has demanded that the UN intervene to save the residents of the island from forceful eviction. The government in Sanaa also claims that the UAE base on Abd al-Khuri would create a major environmental disaster by disturbing the region’s ecology.
Earlier Al-Araby al-Jadeed had reported that the UAE has started issuing its own identity documents to the residents of Socotra island.