27 May 2015

Yemen conflict: dozens killed in Saudi-led air strikes

At least 80 people are killed in Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen – in the deadliest day of bombing the country has seen in over two months of war.

(Air strikes at a military base in Sanaa)

Forty soldiers were killed and 100 others wounded at a military base in the capital Sanaa, according to state new agency Saba, while another 40 died near Yemen’s border with Saudi Arabia.

The military base, used by Houthi rebels, was hit in two consecutive air strikes as dozens of soldiers and Houthi militia were collecting their weapons from warehouses.

Strikes in Hajjah province, across Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen, killed at least 40 people, most of them civilians. Yemen’s largest military port, in the Red Sea city of Hodeida, was also hit – the most serious attack on the country’s navy during the war.

Military offensive

The air strikes took place in the midst of a Saudi Arabian-led military offensive to halt the advance of Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who have taken over much of the country, including Sanaa, since last year. Sunni Saudi Arabia is trying to limit the influence of Shia Iran in the region.

Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab coalition have said the offensive will continue until exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi is restored to power.

Yemen’s exiled government in Saudi Arabia has said the Houthis must recognise its authority and leave the country’s main cities before any peace talks can begin.

Peace talks postponed

UN-sponsored peace talks planned for Thursday have been postponed indefinitely, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced.

The conflict has taken a devastating toll on the people and infrastructure of Yemen, plunging the lready impoverished nation into a state of near total collapse. More than 1,800 people have been killed, with another 7,000 wounded.

Another half a million Yemenis have been forced to flee their homes and millions throughout the country are facing severe food, water, fuel and medicine shortages.