Saudi-led air strikes kill at least seven in Yemen

Saudi-led air strikes kill at least seven in Yemen as war rages between the Saudi-led coalition and the Iran-allied Houthis.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Houthi fighters hold up their weapons as they attend a tribal gathering in Sanaa, Yemen June 20, 2016.

Updated Jun 27, 2016

War has been raging in Yemen for over 15 months  between a Saudi-led Arab coalition and the Iran-allied Houthis, who control the capital. The coalition intervened to prevent the Shi’ite Houthis from overthrowing the government.

The Houthi-run Saba news agency said that five citizens were killed in two air strikes in Khawlan district, southeast of the capital Sanaa.

Residents confirmed that five people died in the attack but did not say if they were civilians or armed members of the Shi’ite rebel group.

In southern Yemen, residents said two women died in an airstrike on the home of a merchant in the Qubaita district, located between the Taiz and Lahej provinces.

Another Yemeni died in Saada province by shelling from the Saudi side of the border, the Houthi-run al-Masirah television reported.

A boy carries a toy machine gun next to destroyed houses during a vigil marking one year since a Saudi-led air strike on a residential area in Sanaa, Yemen June 21, 2016.

The Saudi-led coalition says it does not target civilians in Yemen and has been observing a truce, acting only in response to Houthi violations, despite a UN report that blamed the coalition for the deaths of hundreds of children in Yemen. 

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged combatants to make concessions.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) addresses the Yemeni delegations at the Kuwait Peace Talks on June 26, 2016.

In a speech to Yemeni negotiators from the Saudi-backed government on one side and the Houthis on the other, he said they could learn from the example of the Colombian rebels and the government who signed a deal last week in Cuba after decades of war.

"The agreement last week demonstrated the perseverance of all those who work to end violent conflict not through the destruction of the adversary, but through the patient search for compromise," Ban said, according to a text received from the UN.

Officials say the talks have been going in circles: The Houthis demand an agreement on the formation of a broad government that would include them before any withdrawal from cities they seized, while the Yemeni government insists the rebels withdraw from all territory they have seized since 2014 and surrender control of state institutions ahead of any political settlement.

The Yemen war has killed more than 6,400 people and displaced 2.8 million people.

It has also triggered a severe humanitarian crisis in a country that was already one of the most impoverished in the world. Yemen shares a long border with the world's top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia.

TRTWorld and agencies