Air raids and ground clashes rage in Yemen

Air strikes continue across country despite Saudi claim that focus would shift to diplomacy and humanitarian issues.

Yemen airstrike
Houthi rebels have been accused of receiving much of their supply of arms from Iran [AP]

Fighter jets from the Saudi-led coalition battling Shia rebels in Yemen have struck targets in several provinces, including the capital Sanaa, security officials said, as fighting raged across the country.

Sunday’s air strikes began just after midnight, officials said, hitting a military base known to be an arms depot on the outskirts of Sanaa, as well as sites near the presidential palace where weapons were being moved.

There were at least five air strikes on military positions and an area near the presidential palace compound in the Houthi-held capital Sanaa at dawn, while foreign warships shelled the rebels’ positions near the main commercial port of the southern city of Aden, residents said.

“The explosions were so big they shook the house, waking us and our kids up. Life has really become unbearable in this city,” a Sanaa resident who gave his name as Jamal told the Reuters news agency.

Air raids also targeted the rebels in Aden as street fighting between Houthis and forces loyal to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi continued.

Air strikes backed up local militia in clashes near Aden’s international airport.

Meanwhile, Iran’s navy chief said on Sunday that it would keep warships in the Gulf of Aden for at least several months, a stance that could boost US concerns about Tehran trying to supply advanced weapons to the Houthis.

Also on Sunday, pro-Saleh forces battled tribesmen in the central Marib province, where coalition air strikes also hit targets. The officials added that the jets also struck pro-rebel sites in Shabwa and Lahj provinces.

In the southern province of Dalea, pro-Hadi fighters said they had fought for hours to retake several rural districts from the Houthis with the help of air strikes. The fighting left around 25 Houthis and six fighters dead.

Other air strikes hit Houthi bastions in Saada province along Yemen’s northern border with Saudi Arabia, and Saudi ground forces also shelled the city of Haradh in neighbouring Hajja province, residents said.

The United Nations said on Friday that the war is causing a particularly bloody toll among civilians, killing over 550 of them in the past month, including more than 115 children.

Source: AP