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Yemen’s Houthis hold military parade near front lines in ‘provocative’ move

Yemen’s Houthi-aligned armed forces held a massive military parade on Thursday in the southwestern city of Ibb, in a show of force on the frontline of the key neighbouring besieged city of Taiz.

Images of the event showing hundreds of Houthi fighters in uniform circulated on social media platforms.

A video shared online also showed that fighters who took part in the parade had travelled on foot from the southwestern city of Dhamar to Ibb.

Head of the Houthi’s Supreme Political Council (SPC) Mahdi al-Mashat gave a speech revealing that the Iran-backed group had been supplied with “specific weaponry” that will be used in “the next phase of battle against the enemy” and will be “revealed in the coming days”.

Information Minister of the Aden-based government Muammar al-Eryani slammed the parade on Twitter, saying it was a public show of “escalation” and “provocative behaviour”.

Eryani said the parade was a “poor and desperate show aimed at luring more fighters and children to recruit”, adding that it revealed “their true stance towards calls for de-escalation and peace settlement”.

A six-month truce brokered by the United Nations expired in October last year, but fighting has largely remained on hold as diplomatic efforts to end the conflict intensified.

In April Riyadh’s ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed al-Jaber, travelled to Sanaa as part of a plan to “stabilise” the truce.

Although no deal was struck, Jaber later said warring parties are serious about ending the conflict.

The Iran-backed Houthis seized Sanaa in 2014, prompting a Saudi-led military intervention months later. Hundreds of thousands have died in the war, which triggered a major humanitarian crisis.

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