Yemen′s Sanaa hit by Saudi-led airstrikes | News | DW | 19.05.2015
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Yemen's Sanaa hit by Saudi-led airstrikes

Yemen's Houthi rebel-held capital Sanaa has been pummeled by Saudi-led airstrikes, two days after the expiry of a truce. Aid agencies say they have little time to deliver "desperately needed" food and medicines.

Dozens of families fled homes in Sanaa on Tuesday as Saudi-led airstrikes continued on rebel positions. Missiles also struck Houthi strongholds elsewhere in northern Yemen, according to reports from the Associated Press.

Smoke and fires were sighted in mountain areas around Sanaa where rebels have depots. Residents said Sanaa was increasingly turning into a "ghost city."

There was no immediate word on latest casualties.

The UN's World Food Program said it had only delivered half its intended aid during the five-day truce and demanded a series of "predictable breaks."

The UN estimates that Yemen's conflict of recent weeks has displaced nearly half a million people.

Comply, says exiled government

From the Saudi capital Riyadh, Yemen's exiled government led by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi demanded that Houthi rebels comply with a UN Security Council resolution by quitting captured cities and handing over seized weapons.

"We are not going to sit with the Houthis without implementation of [resolution] 2216," said Hadi's vice president, Khaled Bahah, on the sideline of talks between Yemeni parties in Riyadh.

The Iranian-backed Houthis from northern Yemen and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have for weeks sought to fully capture the Yemen's southern strategic port city of Aden.

Yemenis head to Somalia

The UN Security Council was told by the UN's special envoy for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, on Tuesday that 7,000 refugees had fled Yemen to Somalia since the Saudi-led air raids began in late March.

Vigilance was required to prevent extremists from Yemen mingling among refugees and joining al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militants in Somalia, Kay told the council during a videoconference.

Houthis 'fire' into Saudi Arabia

Along the northern Saudi-Yemen border, Houthi rebels are reported to have fired Katyusha rockets at Saudi positions.

Reuters said the exiled Yemeni government's newly appointed chief of staff Mohammad al-Maqdisi had made a surprise visit into Yemen on Tuesday to help organize loyalist units comprising local tribesmen.

Officials quoted by the Associated Press said the Houthi rebels had blown up al-Maqdisi's house in the southwestern city of Dhamar.

US monitors Iranian ships

The US military said its warships in the Gulf of Aden were monitoring two Iranian warships. According to the US, they had linked up with a cargo ship which Iran says is carrying humanitarian aid to the Yemeni port city of Hodeida.

The United States had previously insisted that supplies first go to Djibouti, where the United Nations is coordinating humanitarian aid for Yemen.

Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren told a news briefing in Washington that the US was not overly concerned but was monitoring the Iranian ships "every step of the way."

Since mid-March, Yemen's conflict has claimed 1,820 lives and left 7,330 people wounded, according to UN estimates.

ipj/msh (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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