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A Houthi fighter fires in the air during a gathering aimed at mobilising more fighters for the their movement, in Sanaa, Yemen. Image Credit: AP

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia, which is leading a military coalition against the Houthi rebels in war-torn Yemen, condemned on Monday a missile attack that killed more than 100 Yemeni soldiers.

Saturday’s missile strike blamed on the Iran-aligned Houthis follows months of relative calm in the conflict between the rebels and Yemen’s internationally recognised government.

The Houthis attacked a mosque in a military camp in the central province of Marib - about 170 kilometres (105 miles) east of the capital Sanaa - during evening prayers, government military sources said on Sunday.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia strongly condemns the terrorist attack carried out by the Huthi militia,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The assault “reflects this terrorist militia’s disregard for sacred places and... for Yemeni blood”.

UAE reaction

The UAE also condemned the attack.

A statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Monday reiterated the UAE’s strong condemnation of such criminal acts and its rejection of all forms of violence aiming at destabilizing security and stability that is in contrary to religious and humanitarian values and principles.

The ministry called on the international community to come together to address terrorism whatever its source, as it undermines the chances of peace, stability and security. The ministry also expressed its deepest condolences to the families of victims resulting from this heinous crime.

The death toll increased to 116 and is expected to rise, military and medical sources told AFP on Monday. Earlier reports said that 83 were killed and 148 injured.

Death tolls in Yemen’s grinding conflict are often disputed, but the huge casualty list in Marib represents one of the bloodiest single attacks since the war erupted in 2014 when the rebels seized the capital Sanaa.

The Houthis did not make any immediate claim of responsibility for the strike.