Saudi War Crimes Claim More Civilian Lives in Yemen

May 1st, 2015 - by admin

Jason Ditz / & Mohammed Ghobari / Reuters & The New York Times – 2015-05-01 23:49:06

Saudi Airstrike Kills at Least 10 Civilians in Yemeni Capital
Scores Wounded in Attack on Residential Neighborhood

Jason Ditz /

(May 1, 2015) — Saudi warplanes attacked a residential district in the Yemeni capital city of Sanaa today, killing at least 10 civilians and wounding scores of others. The strikes sent civilians fleeing the neighborhood into the surrounding area.

The Yemeni state news agency, Saba, reported 20 civilians dead and 50 wounded in the incident, and also cautioned the toll might rise because they are still recovering people from the rubble.

This is the latest in a long line of Saudi airstrikes against residential areas in the country, as well as refugee camps, a policy which has killed several hundreds of civilians over the course of the war.

In addition to the civilians killed directly in the war, the final toll is likely to include a large number of civilians killed because of food and medicine shortages caused by the Saudi naval blockade of Yemen.

Air Strikes Kill Civilians in Yemeni Capital
Mohammed Ghobari / Reuters

CAIRO (May 1. 2015) — Warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition struck a residential district of the Yemeni capital Sanaa overnight, killing eight to 10 civilians, residents said on Friday.

The Saba state news agency, controlled by the Houthi movement in charge of Sanaa, put the death toll in the Sawan district at 20 and said more than 50 people had been wounded. It said casualties included woman and children.

Warplanes also struck a military airbase near the capital.

Saba said medics had rushed to Sawan to try to rescue residents trapped under the rubble of homes.

The strikes came days after jets bombed the runway to stop an Iranian aid plane landing. Damage to the airport has stopped aid deliveries, officials said.

In the southern port city of Aden, clashes continued between the Houthi fighters and local militiamen over the control of the main airport.

At least 27 civilians and fighters from both sides were killed in the fight for the airport and in the port district of Mualla on Friday, a local militia source said. Eight Houthis were killed in an ambush by local militiamen in the central Crater district, the source said.

Residents said dozens of families had fled, braving Houthi sniper fire and checkpoints as homes were shelled and burned.

Sanad Shehab, a government employee, fled along with 15 family members to Aden from fighting in his hometown of al-Houta, the capital of Lahj province, after being without water or power for more than a month.

“Al-Houta is like a ghost town now,” he told Reuters.

Saudi Arabia believes the Shi’ite Muslim Houthi group is a proxy for its regional rival Iran, and Saudi backing for the resistance in Yemen’s mostly Sunni Muslim south has raised fears that Yemen could descend into all-out sectarian war.

The Houthis hail from Yemen’s far north and belong to the Zaydi sect of Shi’ite Islam. They swept into the capital Sanaa in September and pushed south and east, saying they were winning a revolution against Sunni militants and corrupt officials.

But their advance into the outskirts of Aden on March 25 triggered a Saudi-led air campaign to drive them back and aid local fighters.

On Thursday, dozens of Houthi fighters were killed in clashes with Saudi forces on Yemen’s northern border, Riyadh said, as air strikes and artillery fire rocked Aden in what residents said was the worst fighting in over a month of war.

(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by William Maclean and Rania El Gamal; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Yemenis in Desperate Need of Food and Fuel after Air Strikes
New York Times

CAIRO (April 30, 2015) — After five weeks of air strikes by a Saudi-led coalition, the conflict in Yemen has grown more vicious than ever, and the brunt of the death and devastation is falling on civilians and on the infrastructure they need to survive.

Most of the more than 1,000 people who have died since the bombing began have been noncombatants, killed in air strike-flattened houses, by mortar shells launched into residential neighborhoods or by snipers picking off those who dare to brave the streets.

The United Nations estimates that at least 300,000 people have been displaced, forced to hunt for food and fuel in a country bereft of both. The capital, Sanaa, is facing fuel shortages so severe that some hospitals may be forced to shut down this week. Fierce fighting in the port city of Aden has killed dozens of people in the past few days, left neighborhoods in flames and set off a panicked exodus.

This week, coalition warplanes bombed at least two airports to prevent an Iranian plane from landing; the strikes damaged a runway that was being used for international aid deliveries. And the fighting, as well as a naval cordon set up by the coalition, is blocking deliveries of fuel and food by sea to a country that depends critically on imports.

“It’s insanity — here are 25 million people in the middle of this conflict,” said Nuha Abdulljabbar, a humanitarian coordinator for Oxfam, the British charity. The combatants, she added, are “condemning the whole country to die.”

With little evidence that either side is winning the war or is willing to pursue negotiations, the worsening situation has raised questions about the strategic goals of the Saudi-led military campaign.

Under heavy international pressure, including from the United States, the Saudis said last week that they were ending the first phase of their military campaign against the Houthis, the northern Yemeni rebel group that has captured large parts of the country over the last eight months, including Sanaa. But instead of scaling back the air strikes, the coalition has broadened them.

And the government of President Abed Rabu Mansour Hadi, whom the Saudis had promised to restore to power, remains outside Yemen, trying to influence events from hundreds of miles away in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

As the bombings continue, the Saudi-led coalition has shown what appears to be a determination to defeat the Houthis, rather than any inclination to negotiate.

The coalition has been supplying more weapons to the Houthis’ adversaries, according to fighters in Aden and Taiz, despite the fact that the weapons have often ended up in the hands of the Houthis or of black-market profiteers.

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