24 killed in fresh Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen

April 22, 2015 9:18 am 

SANAA, April 22 — At least 24 civilians were killed on Tuesday when Saudi-led warplanes destroyed a military camp in Yemen's southern province of Ibb.

Warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition forces destroyed a military camp which was used by the Shiite Houthi group as a supply station for their fighters in southern regions, in the southern province of Ibb, 150 km south of the capital Sanaa, the military source told Xinhua.

A witness said the military camp was first hit by missiles, and when residents rushed to the site, another missile hit the people. Medics told Xinhua that at least 24 civilians were killed.

In Sanaa, the planes raided an air defense base on the western outskirts overnight. Powerful explosions could be heard in downtown Sanaa on Tuesday afternoon as the bombardment caused a series of explosions at an arms depot. There are no report of casualties in Sanaa.

On Monday, at least 60 people were killed and 49 others wounded in Sanaa, in one of the fiercest air raids by Saudi-led coalition forces that began on March 26.

At least 60 Houthi fighters and soldiers of the former republican guards loyal to former President Ali Abdullash Saleh were killed in a military base, on Attan mountain in southwestern Sanaa, during the airstrikes on Monday morning, a security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The air raids hit the missile base and caused one of the most powerful explosions since the strikes began on March 26, the source said.

Windows of many residential houses near the base were smashed and at least 49 people were wounded, the source added. The Houthi- controlled TV said more than 300 people were wounded in the air raid and the following explosions.

The coalition forces have raided the Shiite Houthi group and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullash Saleh for more than three weeks, which has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee the capital and several other major cities to seek shelter in villages that have few military targets.

The Saudi army were shelling the Shiite Houthi group in the northern border regions and tribal forces loyal to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi were battling the Houthi fighters in northern provinces.

The airstrikes and battles on the ground have killed about 700 people and wounded 3,000, according to reports from the Yemeni health and interior ministries.

The airstrikes have also caused a humanitarian disaster in the Arab country.

Fuel and electricity supply have been cut off for almost a week in Sanaa, Aden and Taiz, the three major cities in the country, where a large number of people do not have access to drinking water.

The exiled Yemeni government said in the Saudi capital of Riyadh that negotiations will not be held until the Houthi fighters are disarmed and retreat from areas they seized since September 2014.

However, the leader of the Houthi group, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, condemned the Saudi-led military operations on Sunday and vowed to take tougher actions to confront the coalition forces and Sunni tribal fighters.

In his first televised speech since the airstrikes began late March, al-Houthi accused Riyadh of interfering in Yemen's domestic affairs, saying that "we can decide our politics, form our government."

"We took government institutions to protect those from al-Qaida, " he said. "They asked us to withdraw from ministries and from southern provinces in order to let al-Qaida to seize them."

"This will not happen," al-Houthi said. "The Yemeni people will never surrender and we are entitled to respond to this aggression by all open options."

Aid agencies, including the Red Cross, the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders, have started to distribute medicine in the country after their shipments arrived in Sanaa international airport and the southern Aden port last week.

However, they have difficulty entering into the hot spots, especially Aden city and Shabwa province, where deadly fighting persisted between Houthi fighters and pro-Hadi tribal militias. (PNA/Xinhua)

LAM/EBP

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