p Saudi-led coalition planes pound Yemen’s capital | 2019-01-21

Saudi-led coalition planes pound Yemen’s capital

Blast kills 5 demining experts in Maarib

21 January, 2019 12:00 AM printer

ADEN: Saudi-led forces launched overnight air strikes on Yemen’s capital, described by one resident on Sunday as the worst in a year, as the United Nations struggles to implement a peace deal, report agencies.   

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition said its warplanes attacked seven military facilities used for drone operations in Sanaa, which is held by rival Houthi forces.

Yemen’s nearly four-year-old civil war, which pits the Iran-aligned Houthi movement against the Saudi-backed government of Abd-Rabu Mansour Hadi, has killed tens of thousands and left millions on the brink of starvation.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said the overnight targets included al-Dulaimi Air Base, a drone storage site, and military training sites.

Medical workers and residents told Reuters at least two civilians were killed, and others injured, and that the raids also damaged homes. 

Houthi-run al-Masirah TV said on Sunday that the coalition had conducted 24 air strikes on Sanaa since Saturday evening, including four on the air base. It said a plastics factory was also hit, causing a large fire.

Reuters footage showed a large crater next to the factory, and damaged homes nearby.

“The raids were very violent, the likes of which we have not seen for a year,” Sanaa resident Arwa Abdul Karim told Reuters. “The house shook so much we thought it would fall on our heads.” The escalation in fighting, which follows a deadly Houthi drone attack last week on a Yemeni government military parade, augurs badly for a second round of U.N.-sponsored talks this month aimed at ending the war. Meanwhile, an explosion killed five demining specialists in war-torn Yemen’s central province of Maarib on Sunday, security and medical sources said.

A pro-government security official, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, said the the five were foreign experts working on the Saudi-backed Masam landmine clearance project.

AFP could not independently confirm which countries they came from. The official said the blast occurred as landmines were being transported to be destroyed.

A medic at a Maarib hospital confirmed five bodies were brought to the hospital, adding that a number of other people were injured in the incident.


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