Yemen rebels trying to "escalate" war with oil tanker attack

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Last year's Yemen appeal for $2.5b, which was 73 percent funded, but the needs have intensified in a country battered since 2015 by a Saudi-led military offensive aimed at repelling Iran-backed Huthi rebels who control the capital.

Saudi officials are saying the tanker was in worldwide waters at the time of the attack.

Col al-Malki described it as a "terrorist attack" that threatens ships entering the vital Bab al-Mandeb strait, used for oil shipments from the Gulf to Europe. According to the official Saudi Press Agency, Al-Maliki said that the tanker suffered minor damage but was able to continue on its northwards course towards Saudi territorial waters escorted by a coalition warship. "We call on the Houthis to cease further escalation and demonstrate their commitment to a peace process by engaging in constructive dialogue". Debris from the missiles fell on a home, killing one person.

The airstrike hit a compound housing displaced people in the town of al-Hami. He says at least eight women and five girls were among those killed.

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The war has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced more than 2 million and driven the country - already the poorest on the Arabian Peninsula - to the verge of starvation. Saudi-led airstrikes have killed thousands of civilians and destroyed hospitals, schools and markets. Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused Iran of supplying the rebels with missiles and other arms, accusations denied by Tehran.

The Houthis have fired close to 100 missiles toward Saudi Arabia since the war began. Since October 2016, the USA government has provided more than $854 million to address the humanitarian situation in Yemen. In particular, we thank the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for their recent combined $930 million contribution to the UN's coordinated response.

Earlier on Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the warring sides in Yemen to reach a political settlement to end a conflict now in its fourth year that has left 22 million people in urgent need of aid.

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