Saudi-led raids kill 20 civil­ians in rebel port

China Daily (USA) - - WORLD - By AGENCE FRAN­CE­PRESSE in Aden, Yemen

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.

For­mer bomb­ings

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.

ABDULJABBAR ZEYAD / REUTERS

A boy looks at a dam­aged house at the site of a Saudi-led airstrike

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