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Airstrikes on Yemen follow Houthi missile attack

September 6, 2015

Almost continual airstrikes have followed the Houthi rebel missile strike on a Saudi-led coalition munitions depot east of the Yemeni capital. Coalition troops are reported to be consolidating positions inside Yemen.

Saudi-arabische Luftangriffe im Jemen
Image: Reuters/M. al-Sayaghi

Pre-dawn bombing raids by the United Arab Emirates on Saturday targeted rebels in Marib and Sanaa as well as their stronghold of Saada in the far north and the central city of Ibb, state media reported.

Local medical sources said an orphanage in Sanaa had been one of the buildings hit in the al-Nahda neighborhood on Saturday. Two children were reported to have been killed, though the orphanage had been evacuated ahead of the strikes. The two who died were the children of a guard.

"Due to the ongoing airstrikes, there is no way to make an exact estimation of the number of the dead and injured at this stage, but there are dozens," a Health Ministry official said Saturday.

The Saudi-led coalition has launched almost-continuous airstrikes on Sanaa since Friday, destroying at least one building according to local residents. Shockwaves from the explosions also caused several small buildings to collapse.

Marib missile

The Houthi media office confirmed rebels had fired a Soviet-era Tochka missile on Friday at the ammunitions depot in Marib, 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of the capital, Sanaa.

The loss of 45 United Arab Emirates (UAE) troops was the worst in the Gulf state's 44-year history. Ten Saudi troops and five Bahraini coalition soldiers were also killed.

The Marib base was reported to have been used as a staging ground for an upcoming assault on Houthi positions in the north of the country.

It was the first time that either Saudi Arabia or the UAE had acknowledged they had troops on the ground in Yemen.


Reinforcements from Bahrain, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Saudi-trained Yemeni forces were reported to have moved into Marib on Saturday. Supplies were also being brought in from Saudi Arabia.

In al-Jawf, the desert province northeast of Sanaa which borders Saudi Arabia, hundreds of Saudi-trained Yemeni fighters and coalition troops have set up military encampments, pro-government security officials and tribal leaders there told the AP news agency.

The conflict in Yemen is between Shiite Houthi rebels fighting in coordination with army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against forces supporting President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi who is exiled in Saudi Arabia, as well as southern separatists and local militias.

The Saudi-led and US-backed coalition, made up mainly of Gulf nations, has been launching airstrikes against the rebels since March.

Shiite Houthi rebels hailed Friday's strike on Marib as "revenge" for six months of deadly airstrikes.

The United States has supported the coalition effort, but repeatedly warned about the impact of the fighting on civilians.

Secretary of State John Kerry called UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to express his condolences for the army losses. "The United States remains historic friends and strategic partners with both the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain," Kerry said.

jm/cmk (AP, AFP, dpa)