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MIDDLE EAST

Saudi-led Military Coalition for Yemen Carries Out Deadly Weekend Raid

Aerial bombardments on Sana'a, Yemen from Saudi Arabia, 2016. (Photo: Fahd Sadi)
Aerial bombardments on Sana'a, Yemen from Saudi Arabia, 2016. (Photo: Fahd Sadi)

Previously, the Saudi-led coalition has come under sharp criticism by rights groups for killing hundreds of civilians during raids and attacks in Yemen.

In a new fresh attack by the Saudi-led Arab military coalition in Yemen, scores of Yemenis were reportedly killed and many others injured. The attack on Sunday came as  a part of years-long battle between the military coalition and Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Media reports, including Al Jazeera, the English-language website, suggested that the Saudi-led military coalition carried out at least six air raids, targeting a prison in western Yemen.

Recently, the Houthi rebels group has stepped up cross-border attacks by means of explosive-laden drones and missiles, which reached southern Saudi Arabia and hit Saudi airports and army bases.

Casualties

According to the spokesperson for the Houthi-led health ministry, Yusuf Al-Hadri, at least 60 people were killed during air raids that hit a detention center, north of Dhamar city. The Houthi-run Al Masirah TV channel reportedly informed the health spokesperson that 50 people were also wounded.

He explained that the Dhamar community college where the detention center is holds 185 prisoners of war.

A spokesman for the Houthi group, Mohammad Abdulsalam, said earlier in a Twitter post that 50 people were killed and 100 wounded in the latest air strikes.

Claiming Responsibility

Confirming responsibility for the air raids in a statement aired by the Saudi state television, the military coalition announced that the raids targeted a site where drones and missiles are stored. The statement also noted that the strikes were carried out in compliance with international law. The Western-backed Saudi-led military coalition against the Houthis in Yemen aims to support the internationally backed Yemeni government of Abdrabu Hadi Mansour.

The coalition has come under sharp criticism from rights groups for killing hundreds of civilians during raids and attacks in Yemen.

A Swap Deal

Houthi spokesman Mohammed al-Bukhaiti  confirmed that those being detained at the Dhamar jail were awaiting a release because of a prisoner swap deal, agreed to by the Houthis and the Yemeni government of President Hadi.

Speaking to Al Masirah TV, Abul Qader Al-Murtaza, head of the Houthis’ national committee for prisoners affairs, said that rescue teams couldn’t reach the area because of the intensity of the shelling.

ICRC

Al-Murtaza added that the International Committee of the Red Cross and the coalition are aware of the detention center, which was bombed. The ICRC said its crews have frequently visited the detention facility during the ICRC’s regular missions.

The ICRC reported it was ready to help treat at least 100 wounded and provide 200 body bags for the Dhamar province.

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Rami Almeghari

Rami Almeghari is a freelance independent writer, journalist and lecturer, based in the Gaza Strip. Rami has contributed in English to several media outlets worldwide, including print, radio and TV. He can be reached on facebook as Rami Munir Almeghari and on email as [email protected]

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