April 23, 2015 / 8:59 AM / in 2 years

Saudi-led coalition launches air strikes throughout Yemen: residents

ADEN (Reuters) - Warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition pounded Houthi militiamen and military bases with at least 20 air strikes throughout Yemen on Thursday, residents said, despite Riyadh saying it was winding down its campaign.

A man stands in a room of a house burnt after an air strike by a Saudi-led coalition struck a nearby missile base, in Yemen's capital Sanaa April 23, 2015. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

On Tuesday, the Sunni Arab alliance announced an end to its month-old bombing operation in Yemen but strikes have continued. A Saudi spokesman later said forces would continue to target movements of the Iran-allied Houthi militia.

The Houthi-controlled health ministry said on Thursday that air strikes had so far killed 951 people, among them 134 children, and had wounded 3,311. The figure could not be independently verified.

Most of Thursday’s raids hit Houthi vehicles and gatherings on battlefields where the group is fighting supporters of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in six central and southern provinces.

Other air strikes hit military camps housing units loyal to the Houthis in the Western Red Sea port of Hodaida. One strike hit Houthi tanks near the port city of Aden in the south, residents told Reuters.

In Ibb in central Yemen, residents reported an intense series of strikes early on Thursday on Houthi positions and weapons warehouses.

They said targets included a military base in the town of al-Kafr, unspecified sites in Hubaysh, as well as a college on the outskirts of Ibb and another in the nearby city of Yarim.

In Aden late on Wednesday, five Houthi militiamen were killed at a checkpoint while fighting against local forces and eight other Houthi fighters were killed in heavy clashes in southern Dalea province, pro-Hadi fighters said.

Air raids on the capital have ceased in the last few days but food and fuel shortages still grip the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest country as the alliance maintains an air and sea blockade aimed at curtailing arms shipments to the Houthis.

The United States this week deployed additional warships off Yemen’s coast, partly in response a convoy of Iranian cargo ships in the Arabian sea that the U.S. believes may carry arms bound for the Houthis.

France’s defense ministry said it deployed on Thursday a minesweeper in the Bab-el-Mandeb strait off Yemen to secure freedom of movement there.

Reporting By Mohammed Ghobari and Mohammed Mukhashaf; Writing by Noah Browning; Editing by Dominic Evans and Robin Pomeroy

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