Al Houthis Yemen_2
Al Houthi rebels chant slogans during rally in Sanaa, Yemen, on August 22, 2020. Image Credit: AP

Abu Dhabi: The US Wednesday called on the Al Houthis to urgently accept a comprehensive, nationwide cease-fire and political talks.

“It is time to end the conflict in Yemen and provide relief to the Yemeni people,” Charge d’Affaires at the US embassy in Yemen Cathy Westley said in a statement.

Westley added: “The Houthis need to accept a cease-fire and engage in negotiations.”

He said: “We strongly condemn the Al Houthi missile attack on a residential neighborhood in Mraib today that caused civilian casualties, including a child.”

Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war since 2014, when the Iranian-backed Houthis swept across much of the north and seized the capital, Sanaa, forcing the internationally recognised government into exile.

The Houthi offensive in Marib is exacerbating Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, the US State Department said on Wednesday, adding the latest reports of children killed by Al Houthi attacks on the city demonstrate the dire threat to civilians.

A Yemeni government official said Tuesday that Al Houthi rebels fired two missiles in the latest attack in the government-held city of Marib, killing at least three people, including a child.

The missiles landed in the Rawdha neighborhood in the crowded city, according to Ali Al Ghulisi, the provincial governor’s press secretary.

At least 10 other people, including two children, were injured in the attack, Al Ghulisi said.

Tuesday’s missiles landed in the same residential neighborhood where a Houthi missile and explosive-laden drone attack hit a gas station earlier this month, killing at least 21 people, including a father and his two-year-old daughter.

Iran-backed Al Houthi rebels have been attempting since February to capture Marib from the internationally recognised government, which would complete their control over the northern part of Yemen.

On Friday, Samuel Warburg, the regional spokesman for the US State Department, said that Washington’s position on the crisis in Yemen “has not changed”, stressing that the United States recognises the legitimate government in Yemen as the “sole government” in the country, and that the Al Houthis are “the biggest obstacle to ceasefire”.

Warberg explained that the Arab coalition to support legitimacy in Yemen adhered to the ceasefire, while the Al Houthis did not, adding that the Iranian-backed Al Houthi rebels represent “the biggest obstacle to the ceasefire in Yemen.”