Coalition airstrikes kill at least 31 across Yemen

Published September 9th, 2015 - 06:30 GMT

Saudi-led air raids on rebels in Yemen killed at least 31 people Tuesday, officials said, as the coalition intensified its attacks in the wake of a deadly missile strike.

At least ten people were killed in Sanaa, where coalition warplanes targeted the police academy and the headquarters of the security services, both in the heart of the rebel-controlled capital, witnesses said.

And at least another 21 were killed in a wave of airstrikes in the evening in Bayhan, a town south of Marea where 60 coalition soldiers died in the missile attack by the Houthi rebels Friday.

In western Yemen, local residents and fishermen said planes from the Saudi-led alliance struck two boats at Al-Khokha, a small port near Hodeidah used by Indians to smuggle badly needed fuel supplies into the country, killing 20 of them.

Officials were not immediately available to comment on the report.

Overnight strikes also targeted the Sanaa residences of Houthi leaders, witnesses said.

Plumes of smoke rose from the security headquarters in Sanaa Tuesday while flying glass caused by blasts wounded many people near the police academy, others said.

Women and children terrified by the intensity of the explosions were seen fleeing into the streets.

Emirati aircraft took part in the raids on Sanaa, “hitting their targets with precision,” said the UAE’s official WAM news agency.

The rebel-controlled website reported 15 dead and 77 wounded in Tuesday’s raids on the Yemeni capital.

Medical officials said at least seven “civilians” and three guards of leading Houthi officer Khaled al-Anduli were killed in the overnight airstrikes.

One of Anduli’s neighbors, 43-year-old Hamid Hasan, told AFP that “one of my sons [an 18-year-old] was wounded when his bedroom windows shattered after the raid on the officer’s house.”

Ambulances rushed to Anduli’s home where medics retrieved the bodies of victims, Hasan said, adding that the Houthi leader himself had been elsewhere at the time of the raid.

The coalition launched a series of raids on Bayhan Tuesday evening that killed least 21 rebel fighters, including 13 in a military base, military sources said.

The latest strikes come a day after the government announced that 10,000 Yemeni fighters are now ready as part of the “national army being prepared to liberate Sanaa and other provinces.”

Gulf Arab members of the Saudi-led anti-rebel coalition have also reportedly sent thousands of heavily armed reinforcements to Yemen in the wake of Friday’s missile strike.

The additional troops, mostly from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, were deployed to the battleground eastern oil province of Marib where the attack took place, the reports said.

Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera TV reported that the number of forces deployed by the alliance had risen to some 10,000.

A Yemeni military official denied any foreign reinforcements had arrived Tuesday and a source close to the exiled Yemeni government, now based in Riyadh, said he believed the number of foreign troops reported by al Jazeera might be exaggerated.

Al Jazeera Monday said that 1,000 Qatari soldiers had crossed the Al-Wadia border crossing from Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman reaffirmed in a statement on the official SPA news agency that “the coalition will decisively continue its operations to defeat the rebels and those supporting them ... who are attempting to undermine regional security.”

In March, the coalition launched its air war against the Iran-backed rebels when President Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi fled to neighboring Saudi Arabia after they entered his last refuge, Yemen’s second city Aden.

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