Saudi-led coalition airstrikes kill over 120 in Yemen, humanitarian truce announced
Saudi-led coalition airstrikes killed over 120 civilians and left 150 injured after a fierce attack on Friday in the southwestern Yemeni province of Taiz. The coalition has announced a five-day humanitarian truce starting on Sunday night.
Local sources told AP that most of the houses in the area were in ruins and a fire later broke out in the port city of Mokha, on the Red Sea coast of Yemen. They said that most of the corpses found there, including children, women and elderly people, had been completely immolated in the flames. One resident, Ahmed Mohammed al-Mouzay, who took part in rescue operations, reportedly said that most of his neighbors had died. A security official told AP that it was impossible to take the injured to the provincial capital due to the roads being blocked by the ongoing violence.
While AP sources put the death toll at 120, sources who spoke to Reuters said that around 80 people had been killed.
The fighting in Yemen pits the Shia Houthi rebels and troops loyal to former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, against the forces of the Saudi-backed Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who was forced to flee the country.
On Saturday, Saudi-led coalition troops announced a humanitarian truce in their campaign against the Houthis in Yemen. The ceasefire is due to begin on Sunday night, the Saudi SPA state news agency reported. The truce is expected to last for five days to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered to Yemen. The statement by the Arab coalition warned on Saturday they would respond to any violation of the truce by the Houthis, Reuters reported.
Twenty people were killed on Friday in battles between Houthi rebels and pro-government forces in Yemen's Marib province and in Taiz. The Saudi-led coalition put their weight behind pro-government fighters in Friday's clashes, bombing rebel positions. Nine rebels and seven anti-Houthi tribesmen died in clashes in Marib, some 120 kilometers east of Yemen's modern capital, Sanaa, medical officials told AP. Houthi shelling killed four civilians in Taiz, the third largest city in Yemen.
Clashes were also reported north of the southern seaport port city of Aden, which lies on the eastern approach to the Red Sea, about170 kilometers east of the Bab-el-Mandeb strait. On Thursday, anti-Houthi fighters in Aden said they had driven the rebels from their last stronghold and had gained full control of the strategic city.
A source told AP that the current push north of Aden marks the beginning of a large-scale campaign to remove rebels from the area surrounding the city. In the past several weeks, the battle for Aden has become the be-all and end-all in the ongoing Yemen conflict. The Iran-allied rebels seized the Yemeni capital Sanaa last September and began advancing further south. Intense fighting over Aden erupted in March, triggering Saudi-led airstrikes on the rebels designed to cut short their advance.