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Saudi-led coalition launches airstrikes on Sanaa, civilian casualties reported

16 May 2019, 11:51 ( 10 days ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
March 17, 2019 (Xinhua) -- A building partially damaged during fighting between government forces and the Houthi rebels is seen in Aden, Yemen, on March 17, 2019. File Photo Xinhua.

The Saudi Arabia-led coalition launched airstrikes on Houthi rebels' targets in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Thursday morning, causing civilian casualties and damages, authorities and local residents said.

   At least six-member family were killed when a coalition airstrike hit a house in the center of Sanaa, the rebel-controlled Health Ministry said in a statement.

   More than 30 others were wounded in the airstrike, it said, adding that the death toll could rise as many injured remain in critical condition.

   Witnesses said that the six family members were killed when an airstrike hit their house in the Rabat neighbourhood in central Sanaa.

   "A father, mother and their four children were killed after the coalition airstrike hit the family house this morning," a witness named Amat al-Malik Abdullah told Xinhua.   

   Houthi TV al-Masirah also reported that one of the airstrikes hit a house near a school, causing unknown casualties.

   All houses in the neighbourhood were badly damaged. Rescuers said they were still searching for possible survivors from under the rubble.   

   The airstrikes targeted four military sites near the densely populated neighbourhoods at the center of Sanaa. Dozens of houses near the rebel-controlled Information Ministry were slightly damaged, local residents said.

   The al-Masirah TV added that eight other airstrikes targeted three military camps in the Arhab district, about 20 km north of Sanaa.

   The airstrikes came two days after the Iran-allied Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the drone attacks on two Saudi Arabian oil pumping stations and other oil facilities.

   The coalition's spokesperson Turki al-Malki on Thursday announced the launch of the air operation against Houthi targets, saying it aimed to neutralize the ability of the Houthi militia to carry out "acts of aggression."

   He said that the coalition airstrikes targeted Houthi ammunition warehouses and military posts in the Mountain of Attan in Sanaa.

   "The operation conforms to international laws. We have taken all the (required) measures to protect civilians," al-Malki said, while urging civilians to stay away from the targeted locations.

   Al-Malki accused the Houthi rebels of turning Sanaa International Airport into a military barricade to launch drones and carry out terror operations that threaten regional and international security.

   He said that such practices were a clear and blatant violation of international and humanitarian laws.

   The fighting between the Houthis and the Yemeni government supported by the Saudi-led coalition has also escalated in other parts of Yemen, particularly in the southern province of al-Dhalea and the northern border province of Saada.

   Saudi Arabia has been leading a Sunni Arab military coalition against the Yemeni Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen since March 2015 to support the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the rebels forced him into exile and seized much of Yemen's north, including Sanaa.