US-Backed Saudi Airstrike Kills at Least 70 Civilians at Yemen Wedding

September 28th, 2015 - by admin

Middle East Eye – 2015-09-28 22:55:12

At Least 70 Killed at Yemen Wedding Following Saudi-led Coalition Raid
MIDDLE EAST EYE and Agencies

(September 28, 2015) — A Saudi-led coalition airstrike hit a wedding in southwest Yemen on Monday, killing at least 70 people including children, medics and witnesses said.

“The bodies of 31 people, including children, have been taken to a hospital in Mokha city,” a medical source said, adding that dozens more were wounded in the bombardment of a wedding hall in the Red Sea city. Most of the wounded are in serious conditions, the medic said.

Witnesses reported that warplanes struck the wedding hall in Mokha, which is controlled by Houthis. Social media users said air strikes hit the women’s tent at the celebration, a claim that could not be immediately verified.

The attack on the wedding comes a day after residents in two villages — Bani Zela and Zaylaa — near Yemen’s border with Saudi Arabi said coalition strikes on Sunday had killed more than 50 people. A local in Bani Zela told Reuters that civilians were pursued by coalition helicopters as they fled their homes.

An anonymous Saudi source in the New York Times was quoted on Monday, saying they denied their involvement in the attacks.

The Saudi-led coalition launched an air campaign against the Houthis in late March in support of embattled President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who fled to Riyadh.

In the past, air strikes have hit non-military areas, drawing criticism from rights groups. In late August, an air raid hit a bottled-water factory in the northern Hajja province, killing 17 civilians and 14 rebels.

A similar strike in July at the residences of employees of a power plant in Mokha killed 65 civilians. Another attack on a dairy plant in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida in April left 35 civilians dead.

At Least 50 Killed in Saudi-led Airstrikes in Yemen

(September 28, 2015) — Saudi-led coalition airstrikes pounded Yemen on Sunday, killing more than 50 people on Sunday night. In a Yemeni village near the border with Saudi Arabia, airstrikes killed 23 Houthis, according to local residents.

Helicopters and planes from the Saudi-led coalition attacked a building in the village of Zaylaa, in the northwestern Hajja province, believing it to be under the control of Houthi forces, residents told media.

The strikes follow another attack near the Saudi border on the village of Bani Zela which killed 25 civilians also on Sunday, medical sources said.

“People were fleeing their homes as the helicopters pursued,” a village resident who called himself Khaled told Reuters. “They committed a massacre for no reason,” he said.

Saudi sources denied involvement in the attack. “This is totally false news. We deny it,” said one official, quoted anonymously in the New York Times.

Saudi General Killed
A Saudi general was also killed by Houthi shelling that hit the Kingdom’s border province of Jazan, the army said on Sunday.

The general is the second highest-ranking Saudi military official killed over the weekend, after a colonel and a border guard died in a gun battle near the border on Friday.

A coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia has been carrying out airstrikes on Houthi militiamen and forces loyal to ousted former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Saudi Arabia says it wants to reinstate exiled President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who since March has been living in Riyadh after fleeing Houthi advances on the southern city of Aden. Last week, Hadi returned to Aden for a 48-hour visit hailed as a “victory” by commentators supportive of Saudi Arabia.

“The coalition’s success in returning President Hadi to Aden marks a strategic shift in the course of Operation Decisive Storm,” wrote Salman Aldosary, editor-in-chief of Saudi daily al-Sharq al-Awsat. “The Saudi-led coalition has achieved one success after another, without resorting to annoying propaganda or bombastic statements.”

“The real goal of the war in Yemen was, and still is, the security and stability of the Yemeni people, which will be gradually achieved no matter how loud the Houthis scream.”

The war in Yemen has caused a massive humanitarian crisis in the desperately poor country, which was already the poorest in the region. More than 2,100 civilians, including at least 400 children, have been killed in the conflict, while over 1.4 million people have been displaced.

Naval embargoes and fighting around ports have created food shortages in a country that imports 90 percent of its food. Saudi Arabia has promised to restore what it calls “legitimacy” in Yemen.

However, many Yemenis have blamed the kingdom — and its international backers, including the US — for exacerbating an already precarious situation in the country.

“Saudi bought the world’s silence,” wrote Sanaa-based analyst Hisham al-Omeisy on Twitter after the attacks over the weekend. “We’re poor, no shame in that, but I promise you, poor & now suffered injustice, Yemen has stronger resolve.”

Saudi-led Airstrike Kills 25 Yemeni Civilians near Border

(September 27, 2015) — Airstrikes launched by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen have killed 25 civilians, according to medics. The village of Bani Zela, in north-western Yemen near the border with Saudi Arabia, saw a sustained attack by helicopters on Sunday.

“People were fleeing their homes as the helicopters pursued,” a village resident who called himself Khaled told Reuters. “They committed a massacre for no reason,” he said.

Medical officials in the village told Reuters that most of the dead were women and children.

Previous attacks causing large-scale civilian deaths, which appear to have been based on faulty intelligence, have included an airstrike on a refugee camp that killed 45 people.

Two months later Houthi fighters fired mortars at a boat carrying internally displaced people fleeing from the southern port city of Aden, killing at least 40 people.

The attack comes a day after a senior Saudi officer and a border guard were killed in a gun battle along the frontier with Yemen.

Colonel Hassan Ghasoum Ageeli and a deputy sergeant died late on Friday in the Jazan district, and four other guards were lightly wounded, the interior ministry said in a statement.

Sunday’s airstrike is the latest in a months-long campaign led by Saudi Arabia that aims to oust the Houthi rebels who took over much of the country last year.

The Houthis, whom Saudi Arabia suspects of having Iranian backing, have been hit hard by the bombing campaign, particularly in their northern stronghold of Saada, but have nonetheless continued to launch cross-border attacks, and claim to have control of territory inside Saudi Arabia.

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