Yemen ex-president urges attack on Saudi Arabia after air strike

140 people killed after a Saudi-led air attack on a funeral in the capital Sanaa

 

Yemen’s powerful ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, a key ally of the country’s dominant Houthi movement, called for an escalation of attacks against their common enemy Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Saleh, a politician who retains influence over Yemen’s military, spoke a day after an apparent Saudi-led air attack on a funeral at a meeting hall in the capital Sanaa killed at least 140 people, according to local health officials cited by the United Nations.

Sources in the Saudi-led coalition denied any role in the attack.

“I call upon all the sons of this nation ... to face this aggression with all their strength and you must proceed to the battlefronts,” Saleh said in a televised speech.

“The defence ministry, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the interior ministry must put in place the necessary measures for battle readiness at the fronts on the (Saudi) border.”

Jamie McGoldrick, a UN official in charge of humanitarian efforts in Yemen, said more than 525 people were injured. The death toll was 82, according to Ghazi Ismail, the administration’s acting health minister.

The reason for the discrepancy in numbers was not immediately clear. Ismail said the air strike occurred in the southern part of the city, where a wake was taking place for the father of the administration’s interior minister, Jalal al-Roweishan, who had died of natural causes on Friday.

The death toll was one of the largest in any single incident since the Saudi-led alliance began military operations to try to restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power following his ousting by the Iran-aligned Houthis in March 2015.

Reuters