Saudi-led raids kill 20 civilians in rebel port
Saudi-led airstrikes killed 20 civilians in the rebel-held Yemeni port city of Hodeida late onWednesday just hours after the rebels celebrated the second anniversary of their seizure of the capital, a government official said.
The raids hit the Suq al-Hunod district of the Red Sea port, said the official in the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi which is supported by the Saudi-led coalition.
The strikes were also reported by the rebel administration in the capital Sanaa, which said there were civilian casualties but gave no specific toll.
The loyalist official said the residential neighborhoodwas “probably hit in error”.
He said the presidential palace inHodeida was also hit.
Pictures from Suq al-Hunod showed residents combing the rubble under arclights in a search for survivors.
Children were among dead photographed at a mortuary.
Dr Khaled Suhail ofHodeida’s Al-Thawra hospital said the city his facility alone received 12 dead and 30 wounded from the strikes.
The Saudi-led coalition has been repeatedly criticized for the high civilian death toll from its 18-month-old bombing campaign in support of Hadi’s government.
More than a third of coalition strikes have hit civilian sites including schools, hospitals and mosques, according to a survey by the Yemen Data Project published in the Guardian last week.
A United Nations report in June found the coalition responsible for 60 percent of the 785 deaths of children in Yemen last year.
Hodeida is the main port of entry for food, medicines and fuel for the millions of needy civilians in rebel-held areas of Yemen.
In August last year, Saudiled airstrikes caused significant damage to the docks, drawing condemnation from theUNand theUnited States.
In April last year, an airstrike hit a dairy plant in the city killing 35 of its staff.
More than 6,600 people have been killed since the coalition launched its intervention in March last year, the majority of them civilians, according to the UN.
The intervention has pushed the rebels out of much of the south, but they remain in control of nearly all of Yemen’s Red Sea coast as well as the capital Sanaa and much of the central and northern highlands.
Loyalist forces recaptured Perim island in the Bab al-Mandab strait last October securing control of the strategic shipping lane which connects the Suez Canal and Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
But the rebels still control some of the heights which overlook the strait from the mainland, where there has been fierce fighting in recent days.
Loyalist force launched an offensive to recapture the area on Tuesday sparking fighting in which at least 17 combatants were killed.
An UN-brokered cease-fire went into effect in April but it collapsed when peace talks in Kuwait broke up acrimoniously early last month.
in Hodeidah, Yemen, on Thursday.
A boy looks at a damaged house at the site of a Saudi-led airstrike