Air raids targeting al-Qaeda in Yemen kill 17 fighters

At least 20 civilians and fighters wounded in raids, as well as three members of the security forces.

    Houthi supporters demonstrate against Saudi-led air strikes in the capital Sanaa in January [Khaled Abdullah/Reuters]
    Houthi supporters demonstrate against Saudi-led air strikes in the capital Sanaa in January [Khaled Abdullah/Reuters]

    Air strikes killed at least 17 suspected al-Qaeda fighers in a restive district in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden, according to witnesses, medics and a security official.

    Sunday's air raids hit al-Mansoura district, a stronghold for fighters and an area that has witnessed several attacks against security officials since the Arab coalition retook Aden last July from the Houthi rebels.

     A breakthrough in Yemen?

    Sources said at least 20 civilians and fighters were wounded in the strikes, as well as three members of the security forces.

    The raids targeted fighters who were sitting on top of vehicles, and one strike hit a government building. Intermittent clashes were continuing on Sunday, they said.

    A security official said the air strikes - thought to have been carried out by the Saudi-led coalition - were the "second stage" of freeing al-Mansoura from al-Qaeda fighters.

    There was no immediate comment from the Arab coalition, which was assembled by Saudi Arabia.

    The attacks came a day after forces loyal to Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi broke a siege by the Houthis around Taiz, the country's third biggest city, about 200km northwest of Aden.

    Yemen's embattled government was forced out of the capital Sanaa by the Houthi rebels and is now based in Aden but struggles to impose its authority even there.

    The southern city has gone from being one of the world's busiest ports as a former hub of the British empire to a backwater - and then in recent months a conflict zone.

    The coalition began a military campaign a year ago to prevent the Houthis from taking complete control of Yemen.

     Yemeni government gains ground in besieged Taiz

    SOURCE: Reuters


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