At least 14 civilians killed in Yemen air strikes

Women and children among dead as Saudi-led coalition strike hits houses in Sana’a

People carry the body of a woman they recovered from under the rubble of a house destroyed by a Saudi-led air strike in Sana’a, Yemen on Friday. Photograph:  Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

People carry the body of a woman they recovered from under the rubble of a house destroyed by a Saudi-led air strike in Sana’a, Yemen on Friday. Photograph: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

 

Air strikes by a Saudi-led coalition have targeted Yemen’s capital, hitting at least three houses in Sana’a and killing 14 civilians, including women and children, witnesses said.

The attack was the latest by the coalition waging an air campaign against Yemen’s Iran-backed Shia rebels in an effort to bring the internationally recognised government back to power.

The strikes in and around the capital, targeting army compounds and other locations of the rebels known as Houthis, have intensified recently.

On Wednesday, coalition fighter jets struck a hotel in the town of Arhab, north of Sana’a, killing at least 41 people.

Friday’s strikes hit the city’s southern neighbourhood of Fag Attan. The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers pull more victims from the rubble.

The escalation comes amid signs of fracturing between the two main components of the rebel alliance in Sana’a, the Houthis and loyalists of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh – a stand-off that has triggered fears of street violence.

The rebel grouping controls much of northern Yemen, including Sana’a.

The coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and including a string of other Arab states, is trying to restore the internationally recognised government of president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to power.

On Thursday, Mr Saleh drew about 300,000 supporters for a rally in the streets of Sana’a in a public show of support for him amid the tensions with the Houthis. His supporters said in a statement that the party will evaluate its partnership with the Houthis.

The war has shown no signs of abating.

The Saudi-led air strikes have hit schools, hospitals, and markets, killing thousands of civilians and prompting rights groups to accuse the coalition of war crimes.

Activists have called on western countries, including the US and UK, to cease military support for the coalition.

The conflict has killed more than 10,000 civilians, displaced three million people and pushed the impoverished nation to the brink of famine.

On Wednesday, General Joseph Votel, the senior US commander for the Middle East, visited the Saudi-Yemen border for a first-hand look at the kingdom’s military fight against Yemen’s rebels – a visit that coincided with the attack in Arhab.

AP