July 2, 2015 / 3:10 PM / in 2 years

Eight dead in new Saudi-led strikes on Yemen's Sanaa: agency

SANAA (Reuters) - Saudi-led air strikes killed eight people on Thursday in Yemen’s capital Sanaa, residents and a news agency reported, the first such attacks after a lull of several days.

Smoke billows from the site of a Saudi-led air strike in Yemen's capital Sanaa July 2, 2015. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition also launched 35 raids on the northern Saada province, the main base of Iranian-backed Houthis who have dominated Yemen since they captured Sanaa last September.

Explosions were heard throughout the city as the aerial bombardment concentrated on military bases in its south and west, residents and witnesses said.

The attacks also targeted a house owned by the leader of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress party, which is allied to the Houthis, they said.

Eight people were killed and 10 wounded in the raids, the Houthi-run Saba news agency said.

The coalition has been bombarding Houthis and allied army units since March in a campaign to restore Saleh’s successor as president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, to power. Hadi fled in February to Saudi Arabia, where he remains.

The Saba agency said two people were killed and 15 wounded in the latest air strikes on Saada. Coalition planes also struck Houthi forces and Saleh loyalists in Marib province, east of Sanaa, witnesses said.

Human Rights Watch said in a report on Tuesday that coalition air strikes on Saada had killed dozens of civilians and wrecked homes and markets in attacks that appeared to violate the laws of war.

In the deadliest incident, an air strike on a cultural center and neighboring house killed 27 members of same family, including 17 children, HRW said.

More than 2,800 people have been killed since the air campaign began on March 26. The United Nations says more than 21 million people, over 80 percent of the population, are now in need of some form of humanitarian aid.

Combat and lack of food and fuel caused in large part by the coalition’s near total blockade on Yemen has deepened suffering across the country.

In the southern port city of Aden, hunger, disease and shortages of basic goods are threatening its one million residents, a senior official from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“If the conflict gains in intensity we will definitely have a mass casualties scenario where health facilities will be overwhelmed,” Bertrand Lamon, the outgoing head of the ICRC’s Aden delegation, told Reuters in Geneva.

Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari, writing by Hadeel Al Sayegh and Noah Browning, Editing by Angus MacSwan

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