Sunday 18 November 2018

Six killed as Saudi air strikes hit Yemen presidency building

The three-storey building was completely flattened while surrounding buildings were heavily damaged.

By Ahmed al-Haj

Air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Shiite rebels have targeted the presidency building in the heart of the Yemeni capital, leaving at least six people dead and 30 wounded, according to health officials.

The officials said the six killed were all civilians. It was not known if there were any Houthi rebel leaders inside the presidency at the time of the strikes in Sanaa and if there were any casualties among them.

The three-storey presidency building was completely flattened while surrounding buildings in the city’s busy Tahrir district — including a famous five-star hotel — were heavily damaged.

Cars were charred and pools of blood covered the pavement, and many were believed to have been buried under the rubble. Ambulances rushed to the area to retrieve the casualties.

The Saudi-led coalition has been at war with the Houthis since 2015 to restore the country’s internationally recognised government to power. The war has killed more than 10,000 people and driven three million from their homes.

Last month, the coalition killed a top Houthi leader, Salah al-Sammad, in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida.

He was the acting president of the territory under rebel control while the Houthis’ leader, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, has mostly kept out of the public eye, addressing Yemenis only in occasional newscasts on rebel-run outlets.

Monday’s air strikes appeared to have targeted al-Sammad’s successor, Mahdi al-Mashat.

Windows of surrounding houses were shattered while the nearby Sheba hotel had its window and entrance door blown out. Security forces cordoned off the area and forced journalists away from the area.

The sprawling presidency compound in Tahrir consists of several buildings, walled off from the rest of the district.

Images on social media in the aftermath of the strikes show bloodied faces of the wounded and columns of smoke rising over Sanaa.

Press Association

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