A large explosion rocked in December 29 morning a stadium in the southern Yemeni city of al-Dali’, where local forces loyal to the Saudi-led coalition were holding a military parade.
The Security Belt Forces (SBF), the elite military wing of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), were reportedly holding a military graduation ceremony for new fighters in the al-Smud stadium when a large explosion hit the guests’ podium.
According to the UAE-based al-Arabiya TV, the explosion claimed the lives of nine fighters of the SBF and injured many others.
Minutes after the incident, the SBF said in a short press release that the explosion, which took place seconds after the parade, was caused by a Houthi missile.
Al-Arabia and its sister news channel, al-Hadath, confirmed the SBF’s claims, revealing that the alleged missile was launched by Houthi fighters from Damt. The area is located less than 40 km away from al-Dali’s city center.
The SBF later announced the arrest of three suspects, allegedly working as operatives for the Houthis, near the attack site. The southern group claimed that text messages found in the suspects’ mobile phones proved that they had played a role in the attack.
Houthis spokesman, Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, held a press conference a few hours after the attack. The spokesman warned the Saudi-led coalition and its local proxies from any escalation. However, he didn’t claim responsibility for the recent attack.
Last January, the Houthis attacked a military parade of pro-Saudi forces in the southern province of Lahij, killing ten commanders and fighters. Less than eight months later, dozens of pro-Saudi commanders and fighters were killed in a similar attack on a military parade in southern city of Aden.
The Houthis claimed responsibility for both previous attacks right away. This rises some serious questions about the claims made by the SBF on the al-Dali’ attack.