Seven Moroccan Soldiers Reportedly Killed in Yemen

Rabat – Seven Moroccan soldiers were reportedly killed on Sunday night along with Saudi soldiers in a rocket strike in Yemen as fighting flared before Tuesday’s peace talks.This information should be taken with utmost caution, as Moroccan authorities have not confirmed the death of the soldiers.The number of confirmed casualties on the Moroccan side is still not clear. Citing Asset Source, a mobile intelligence and monitoring company, the International Business Times reported that nine Moroccan soldiers were reportedly killed in the attack, in addition to 16 and 18 Sudanese, 23 Saudi, seven Emiratis. According to Reuters, “Two senior commanders from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were among dozens of Gulf, Yemeni and Sudanese soldiers killed,” in the attack.“In the absence of official sources, the information remains pure propaganda of the Houtis, following rumors about a Moroccan participation in ground operations,” Moroccan military expert, Abdelhamid Harifi, was quoted by medias24 as saying.Moroccan daily Assabah reported on its December 3 issue that Morocco had sent 1,500 elite soldiers to Yemen to participate in the Arab Coalition’s ground military offensive. However, the information was not confirmed by any statement from Moroccan authorities.“It is possible that Morocco has sent officers to assist in the development of tactics on the field, but to deploy them in Yemen is not likely,” Arifi added.According to Albawaba, the attack left nearly 150 casualties among the Saudi-led forces.“The Yemeni army, backed by popular committees loyal to the Houthi rebel movement, targeted a Saudi military headquarters in the Yemen’s southwestern province of Ta’izz with a Tochka ballistic missile on Sunday night,” Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah news website reported.The Tochka rocket strike on a Red Sea army camp south-west of the besieged city of Taiz appears to be “one of the bloodiest setbacks for Gulf forces” after months of fighting against Iran-allied Houthi forces and Yemeni army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.If confirmed, tragedy comes only one day before a seven-day renewable ceasefire is scheduled to come into effect.The Iran-backed Houthi group had claimed responsibility for the “downing” of the Moroccan F-16 warplane in the Saada region in the north of Yemen.Saudi Arabia has led an Arab coalition in a military campaign from late March to stop the Iran-backed Houthi militias.Update:Moroccan authorities denied on Monday the death of their soldiers in Yemen.“The Kingdom of Morocco denies categorically the information published by some news agencies on the death of Moroccan soldiers in Yemen, said Monday a communiqué of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAEC).“Such information is baseless,” the statement added. Furthermore, Morocco has at no time confirmed the sending of troops to that country for the purpose of a land engagement as reported by several media, including the Moroccan press,” it concluded.

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