Jan. 19 (UPI) — At least 80 Yemeni soldiers were killed in an airstrike at a military camp, the United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen said Sunday.

As many as 130 others were injured in the ballistic missile and drone attacks as they attended prayers at a mosque at the Al-Estiqbal military camp in Marib city.

“I have before said that the hard — earned progress that Yemen has made on de-escalation is very fragile. Such actions can derail this progress,” said U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths. “I urge all parties to stop the escalation now and to direct their energy away from the military front and into the politics.”

Yemen’s Ministry of Defense said the attack was meant to “avenge the killing of the Iranian terrorist Qasem Soleimani.”

Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq on Jan. 3, as U.S. President Donald Trump said he was planning “imminent and sinister attacks.”

For years Yemen has been engaged in a civil war among coalition-backed Saudi Arabia, the United Emirates and Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

Yemen’s Defense Ministry said “the armed forces will remain the solid rock that breaks the ambitions” of Iran’s goal of destabilizing security in Yemen and the region overall.

It did not state how it might be aware of the rebels’ motives and the Houthis did not immediately claim responsibility.



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