At least 21 people, including a five-year-old girl, were killed in a drone attack in central Yemen on Sunday. The blast occurred at a gas station in the strategic city of Marib and Houthi rebels were behind the attack, the government said.
However, a member of the Houthis' Supreme Political Council, denied the allegations on Twitter that the group carried out the attack.
Initial reports had earlier put the death toll at 17 from the attack, which has now increased to 21.
"The Houthi militia's terrorist attack on the gasoline station once again demonstrated that these criminal gangs are bloody warmongers desperately seeking to spoil any effort tht aims to establish peace," Yemeni Prime Minister Ma'een Abdulmalik said during his phone call with the governor of Marib General Sultan Al-Erradah, cited Yemeni news agency Saba News.
Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani denounced the attack as a "heinous terrorist crime which amounts to a war crime" and called on the UN to condemn the attack. Al-Eryani added that the attack is an extension of the incessant targeting by the Houthi militia of residential neighborhoods in Marib, with the aim of causing the largest number of casualties, Saba News reported.
Earlier, the US State Department had blamed Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels for not paving way for a truce in the country, which has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014. "While there are numerous problematic actors inside of Yemen, the Houthis bear major responsibility for refusing to engage meaningfully on a ceasefire and to take steps to resolve a nearly seven-year conflict that has brought unimaginable suffering to the Yemeni people," the State Department pointed out.
Over 233,000 people have been killed in the conflict in Yemen so far, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.