A missile attack on a parade for graduating Yemeni recruits of the Security Belt Forces on Sunday killed at least 10 people and wounded 21. The attack occurred in the town of al-Dhalea that is a frequent battleground between the forces of the government and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Terrorists from al-Qaeda are also active in the area. 

The Security Belt Forces are trained and supported by both the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s neighbor to the north. Witnesses told the press on-site that an explosion occurred near a reviewing stand and that bodies littered the ground. 

The witnesses told the press that all of the victims were civilians who were attending the parade. Yemeni officials blamed the Houthi rebels for this latest attack.

The Houthi rebels conducted a similar attack in August during another such parade in Aden. The attack killed 36 people, including a high-ranking commander. Aden is the seat of the internationally-recognized Yemeni government.

So far, no one has assumed responsibility for this newest attack: The Houthis told one media outlet that they didn’t have anything to do with it. 

Yemen has been wracked by a civil war that began in 2015 when Shia Houthi rebels, heavily supported by Iran, seized control of the western part of the country. President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia. The situation prompted Saudi Arabia and UAE to put together an eight-country coalition of Sunni forces. The coalition began a devastating bombing campaign in an effort to restore Hadi’s legitimate government. The Saudis have received logistical and intelligence support from the United States and the UK.

The bombing and fighting have devastated the country’s infrastructure. Estimates of the dead range up to more than 100,000. Millions have been displaced. Currently, nearly two-thirds of Yemen’s population can’t subsist without outside assistance.  

The town of al-Dhalea is mainly controlled by the southern separatist forces: It lies on the main south-to-north road that links the southern port of Aden, which is controlled by Hadi’s government, to the Houthi-controlled capital, Sanaa.