Yemenis Demand Protection Against Houthi Attacks

Twelve rights groups, medical workers and officials in Yemen’s southern city of Taiz have called for the protection of civilians against arbitrary mortar strikes by the Iran-backed Houthis, Arab News reported.

The groups wrote a joint petition urging the international community to help put an end to Houthi attacks that had claimed the lives of dozens of civilians in the densely populated city since early last month.

“These acts are considered crimes against humanity that require urgent action by the international community,” they said in their petition. “We hold the Houthi group and all the parties that commit those violations fully responsible for these actions. We demand them to abide by the principles of international humanitarian law and human rights law.”

On Saturday, a mortar shell landed inside a stadium in Taiz, killing a football coach and his 10 year-old son and wounding two children.

The attack triggered outrage as Yemenis called for an end to the attacks and labeled the Houthis terrorists due to their crimes against civilians.

On Sunday, dozens of protesters gathered inside the stadium to denounce the Houthi attacks that have escalated during the past couple of months.

Local officials and activists who spoke at the gathering strongly condemned the attacks on civilians and called for designating the Houthi movement as a terrorist organization.

Medical workers in Taiz told Arab News on Monday that increasing mortar strikes by the Houthis have placed more pressure on the city’s health facilities that are working as full capacity due to the war and the coronavirus pandemic.

“Deaths and the wounded from Houthi attacks have overflown the already strained hospitals and morgues. We urge the international community to urgently intervene to end those attacks,” Dr. Ahmed Mansour, a health official in Taiz, said by telephone, adding that artillery shells have targeted almost all of the districts in Taiz that are under government control.