Peace in Yemen was disrupted Thursday when a drone loaded with bombs exploded above a military parade, killing at least five soldiers and wounding dozens more, officials said.
The drone appeared to target senior military officers of Yemen’s government at a parade at the al-Anad base Thursday. More than a dozen military personnel were injured, including the head of Yemen’s Intelligence Service Mohammad Saleh Tamah, senior military commander Mohammad Jawas and Lahij governor Ahmed al-Turki, Al Jazeera reported. Yemeni Gen. Tabit Jawas disputed reports that senior leaders were hurt.
“We are all safe, our situations is good and our health is good,” Jawas said in a video.
Houthi spokesman Abdul Guddoos al-Shahari said Yemeni Army chief of staff Abdullah Al-Nakhee was also hurt. The rebel group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it targeted “invaders and mercenaries.”
Officials said the drone was loaded with more than 150 pounds of explosives.
The drone attack complicates the peace talks and raises questions about Iran’s role in arming the Houthi rebels.
“Once again this proves that the Houthi criminal militias are not ready for peace and that they are exploiting truces in order for deployment and reinforcements,” said Yemeni Information Minister Moammar al-Eryan. “This is time for the international community to stand by the legitimate government and force the militias to give up their weapons and pull out of the cities.”
The United Nations peace deal, brokered last month, ordered Houthi rebels to turn over the port city of Hudaydah so humanitarian aid could arrive. Policy experts said it wasn’t clear who should take control of the key port, however, which has led to confusion.
Martin Griffiths, the U.N. special envoy to Yemen, has said he will meet with Houthi rebel leaders to reach a lasting peace agreement.