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YEMEN REBELS DEMAND JUSTICE FOR DEATHS

Houthi political commander Mohamed Ali al Huthi offered on Twitter to pay compensation if the independent investigation determines that his group is responsible for the civilian deaths. Yemen’s Houthi rebels acknowledged Sunday that they had attacked a military base in the country’s north. The government said 14 civilians were killed and called for an independent investigation into the incident.

Houthi political commander Mohamed Ali al Huthi offered on Twitter to pay compensation if the independent investigation determines that his group is responsible for the civilian deaths. Official media reported Saturday that the attack killed 14 people at a fuel station in the city of Marib, the last government stronghold in northern Yemen, and blamed the rebels for the incident.

“We asked the brothers in the (Houthi government’s internationally unrecognized) Defense Ministry, and they said they only bombed the base,” al Huthi said. “We demand that independent committees investigate the facts,” he added. According to two villagers, the fuel station is located one kilometer from the military base, and soldiers often go there with their families to refuel their vehicles. Al Huthi said the rebels would be “forced to pay compensation” if the investigation holds them responsible for the civilian deaths.

The Iranian-allied Houthi rebels launched an offensive in February to seize Marib and adjacent oil fields, the only significant portion of the country’s north under government control. Heavy fighting between the Houthi rebels and the internationally recognized government has exacerbated what the UN called the worst current humanitarian crisis. The attack came amid a diplomatic effort to reach a cease-fire. The conflict in Yemen has left tens of thousands dead and millions on the brink of famine. Human rights organizations accuse the warring sides of committing war crimes.

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