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WAR REPORT
15 killed as Arab coalition planes pound Yemen capital
by Staff Writers
Sanaa (AFP) Sept 19, 2015


Rebel prisoners among 11 dead in Saudi-led strikes in Yemen
Sanaa (AFP) Sept 20, 2015 - Saudi-led air strikes on a security complex in central Yemen controlled by Shiite rebels killed 11 people on Sunday, some of them prisoners, witnesses and medics said.

A first strike on the complex in the Ibb province town of Al-Qaeda caused no casualties but a second strike hit as guards were evacuating some 300 detainees, the sources said.

Fifty people were wounded.

A Saudi-led coalition has conducted air strikes on rebel positions across Yemen since March and has provided training and heavy weapons to forces seeking to reinstate exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

Raids on the rebel-held capital late on Friday killed 15 people, 10 of them civilians.

The rebels still control Sanaa, a year after they overran it with support from renegade troops still loyal to Hadi's ousted predecessor Ali Abdullah Saleh.

But they have lost territory in the south since late July when the coalition began deploying ground troops in support of the exiled president's loyalists.

The United Nations says nearly 4,900 people have been killed in Yemen since late March. The UN aid chief Stephen O'Brien has called the scale of suffering "almost incomprehensible."

On Yemen's northern border with Saudi Arabia, two Saudi border guards were killed when a patrol came under fire, the Saudi interior ministry said in a statement.

The attack brings to at least 66 the number of people killed in Saudi Arabia from border shelling and skirmishes since the Saudi-led coalition began a campaign against the rebels.

Most of the border casualties have been soldiers.

Air raids by Saudi-led coalition warplanes killed 15 people in Yemen's capital in one of the heaviest nights of bombardment in months, aid workers and witnesses said Saturday.

One rescuer told AFP at least 10 civilians were among the dead.

"Ten members of the same family were killed in the Al-Falihi neighbourhood, in Sanaa's old town," he said.

Residents said four houses were destroyed by a bomb and that 15 other buildings were damaged.

Witnesses said five Huthi rebels were killed in a raid on their position in the capital, which the Iran-backed Shiite fighters seized last year.

A Saudi-led coalition has conducted air strikes on rebel positions across Yemen since March and has provided troops, training and heavy weapons to forces seeking to reinstate exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

Residents of Sanaa's Al-Hassaba neighbourhood said coalition jets conducted several sorties overnight, targeting an interior ministry building and a police station.

A residence of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose forces have allied with the Huthis, was also bombed, as well as an office of his political party, according to residents.

In central Zubeiri Street, an army communications office was hit for the first time by the coalition.

The building has been used by the pro-Huthi Saba news agency, as well as other media outlets, according to a rebel spokesman.

- Oman ambassador's house hit -

In the southern neighbourhood of Hadda, the Omani ambassador's residence was hit during an air strike targeting the nearby home of a Huthi official, residents said.

A spokesman from Oman's foreign ministry condemned the attack, the ONA news agency reported, without saying whether the envoy was at home at the time.

"Oman calls on the United Nations to take all measures to end the war in Yemen," the spokesman said.

Oman, the only Gulf state that does not belong to the coalition, has offered to host planned UN-mediated peace talks between the government and rebels.

The government earlier this week said it would not attend talks unless the rebels first accept a UN Security Council resolution demanding their withdrawal from territory they have captured.

The insurgents still control Sanaa but have lost ground in the south since July when the coalition sent in armour, troops and Yemeni fighters trained in Saudi Arabia

Riyadh formed the alliance in response to fears the Huthis would take over all of Yemen and move it into the orbit of Sunni Saudi Arabia's Shiite regional rival Iran.

An analyst estimates the coalition has more than 5,000 troops in Yemen, supporting local forces.

In Marib province, east of Sanaa, where pro-Hadi forces have launched a mass ground offensive, several Huthi positions were also bombed overnight, military sources said.

The Marib offensive began after an early-September missile strike on a coalition base in the province killed 67 coalition soldiers, including 52 from the United Arab Emirates.

A Yemeni military source told AFP that General Fahd bin Turki, commander of Saudi-backed ground forces in Yemen, inspected troops deployed in Marib on Friday evening.

The United Nations says nearly 4,900 people have been killed since late March in Yemen, where the UN aid chief has called the scale of human suffering "almost incomprehensible."


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