Saudi-led jets pound Yemen rebels for third day

Written by NY Staff

ReliefWeb — Saudi-led coalition jets on Thursday pounded Shiite rebel positions in and around Sanaa for a third consecutive day, as shelling from Yemen killed a woman in Saudi Arabia.

The coalition has been fighting the Huthi rebels since March 2015, after they overran the capital and drove south forcing internationally recognised President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to flee the country.

In the morning, coalition warplanes struck the Al-Dailami airbase near Sanaa airport and a military school inside the Yemeni capital, the pro-rebel Saba news agency reported.

Military sources loyal to the Hadi government said the air raids targeted only military positions held by the Huthis and their allies, supporters of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

But Saba said civilian homes were also struck, and reported other raids on the Huthi stronghold of Saada, a northern province near the borders with Saudi Arabia.

It said Sanaa airport had been closed since the coalition on Tuesday launched a wave of air raids in and around the capital, for the first time in three months.

The raids had been halted as Kuwait hosted UN-brokered peace talks between and the Yemeni government and the Iran-backed Huthis and their allies.

But the UN suspended the talks last week after the rebels appointed a so-called “supreme political council” comprising 10 members to run Yemen.

In July the Huthis and their allies rejected a UN peace plan that called on them to withdraw from territory they had occupied and give up heavy weapons seized from the army.

The rebels said the plan did not meet their key demand for a unity government.

Rebels and pro-government forces clashed again in the Naham region north of Sanaa, where 22 rebels and four loyalists have been killed since Wednesday, a pro-government spokesman said.

Also on Thursday a Saudi woman was killed and seven other people wounded by shelling from Yemen, the Saudi civil defence said.

It came hours after a civilian was killed and seven others wounded late Wednesday in the Saudi province of Hazan also in shelling from Yemen, it added.

The United Nations says more than 6,400 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Yemen since the coalition air campaign began in March 2015.

The fighting has also driven 2.8 million people from their homes and left more than 80 percent of the population needing humanitarian aid.

Around 100 members of the Saudi forces and civilians have been killed in skirmishes, by artillery fire or landmines inside the kingdom’s borders since the coalition launched its campaign.