Wednesday 21 March 2018

14 civilians killed in Saudi coalition air strikes on Yemeni capital

The rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi-led ai rstrikes in Sanaa (AP)
The rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi-led ai rstrikes in Sanaa (AP)
Supporters of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh mark the 35th anniversary of the founding of the Popular Conference Party in Sanaa (AP)

Saudi-led coalition's fighter jets have rained bombs on the Yemeni capital, levelling houses packed with civilians and killing at least 14 people including eight members of a single family, witnesses said.

The family's year-old baby was among those killed, relatives in Sanaa's southern district of Fag Attan said.

The bombing was the latest in a significant escalation in the coalition's air campaign in Yemen. On Wednesday, at least 41 people died when air strikes hit a small hotel in the town of Arhab, north of Sanaa.

The attack prompted the United Nations to renew calls for an investigation into the atrocities in Yemen's civil war.

Over the past two years, more than 10,000 people have been killed and three million displaced amid the coalition's air campaign against Yemen's Iran-backed Shiite rebels.

The Saudi-led campaign is seeking to restore Yemen's internationally recognised government back to power.

The worst-hit house in Fag Attan was a three-storey building occupied by at least three families. Mohammed al-Rimi and his wife lived on the first floor with their six children. They all died except one child, and a visiting brother-in-law was also killed.

The strikes in and around Sanaa, targeting army compounds and other locations of the rebels known as Houthis, have intensified recently.

Liz Throssell, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the UN has confirmed that 33 of the 41 people killed in Arhab were civilians.

The Saudi-led air strikes have hit schools, hospitals and markets, killing thousands of civilians and prompting rights groups to accuse the coalition of war crimes.

Activists have called on Western countries, including the US and UK, to cease military support for the coalition.

The conflict has triggered a set of humanitarian crises including a cholera epidemic which killed around 2,000 people and infected more than half a million as Yemen's health, water, and sanitation systems were near collapse, while shortages of basic necessities left millions hungry and pushed the impoverished nation to the brink of famine.

The escalation comes amid signs of fracturing between the two main components of the rebel grouping in Sanaa, the Houthis and loyalists of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh - a stand-off that has triggered fears of street violence.

The rebel group controls much of northern Yemen, including the capital, while the coalition along with the internationally recognised government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi controls much of the south.

On Thursday, Mr Saleh drew about 300,000 supporters for a rally in the streets of Sanaa in a public show of support amid the tensions with the Houthis. His supporters said in a statement that the party will evaluate its partnership with the Houthis.


Press Association

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