Iran Calls for Ceasefire in Yemen as Saudi Air Raids Kill Hundreds of Civilians
April 22, 2015 Al Jazeera America & Reuters & Ahmed Al-Kolaibi / Dar Al-Salam Organization
On April 21, the Saudi-led coalition bombing Yemen called a halt to the airstrikes that had pounded Houthi rebels for more than three weeks. Saudi officials said the bombing had neutralized threats to the kingdom and destroyed Houthi heavy weapons but observers inside Yemen reported the air strikes were responsible for demolishing homes and killing hundreds of civilians. The air war, itself, was faulted for failing to deter Houthi advances while fueling anger against the Saudi-backed forces.
(April 21, 2015) -- A Sanaa hospital struggles to cope with the high number of casualties with severe injuries, after an air strike left at least 25 dead and hundreds wounded. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Saudi-led Coalition Ends Military Operation in Yemen Al Jazeera America
(April 21, 2015) -- The Saudi-led coalition bombing Yemen announced Tuesday the end to a military operation that pounded Houthi rebels for more than three weeks, a statement read on Saudi-owned Arabiya TV said.
"The air strikes, with participation of the Saudi brave hawks with brothers in the coalition countries, have successfully managed to thwart the threat on the security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries," Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Defense said in the statement.
The alliance had achieved its military goals in Yemen through the campaign dubbed "Decisive Storm" and will now begin a new operation called "Restoring Hope," it said.
The mission, the statement said, would focus on security at home and counterterrorism, aid and a political solution in Yemen.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Saudi Ministry of Defense said that the regional coalition had destroyed all heavy weapons and ballistic missiles of the Houthi rebels, Saudi news channel Al-Ekhbariya reported. The ministry added that the operation imposed restrictions over Yemen's airspace to prevent any possible attacks.
Still, Saudi military spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri said the coalition would continue to target movements by the rebels.
"The coalition will continue to prevent the Houthi militias from moving or undertaking any operations inside Yemen," Asseri told reporters in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
"Operation Restore Hope has begun and it represents a combination of political, diplomatic and military action," Asseri said.
Following Saudi Arabia's announcement that it was shifting phases, pro-Houthi Almasirah television said the group's supporters would stage a mass protest in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, on Wednesday to denounce the kingdom's aggression.
Saudi Arabia and allied countries began launching airstrikes on March 26, hoping to push back the rebels, who seized Sanaa in September and overtook large swathes of the country with the help of security forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Most of Yemen's military is loyal to Saleh, whose forces are fighting alongside Houthi rebels in battles stretching across the country's south and east.
While not taking direct military action, the U.S. has said it is coordinating military and intelligence support with Saudi Arabia.
To push back against the Houthis, Saudi-led warplanes targeted military bases and anti-aircraft positions located in populated neighborhoods in Sanaa, flattening homes and killing civilians.
The United Nations last week reported over 750 deaths resulting from the conflict. Thousands more have been wounded in the airstrikes.
The leader of the Iranian-allied rebels accused Saudi Arabia on Sunday of plotting to seize Yemen, in a fiery speech suggesting that he was unlikely to compromise despite more than three weeks of airstrikes.
Saudi Arabia's goal is "the invasion of this country, its occupation and placing this country again under its feet and hegemony," Abdel-Malek al-Houthi said.
"It's the right of our people to resist the aggression and face the aggressor by any means," he added.
Western governments and many Sunni Arab countries say the Houthis get arms from Iran. Iran and the rebels deny that, though the Islamic Republic has provided political and humanitarian support to the group.
In remarks Tuesday to reporters, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the airstrikes in Yemen were prompted by Saudi Arabia's failures in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, causing what he called a "mental imbalance."
"All the failures have accumulated and caused mental and emotional imbalance for that country," Rouhani said.
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(April 20, 2015) -- An air strike on a Scud missile base in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa causes a huge explosion, the resulting fireball captured on video.
ACTION: Halt the Bombing:
'Yemen Is Facing a Genocide' Ahmed Al-Kolaibi / Dar Al-Salam Organization
This is an urgent appeal to draw your attention to the fact that Yemen is under continuous airstrikes by various types of weapons, missiles and bombs targeting civilians, women, children and elderly.
Yemen is facing a genocide. Today's aggression targeted Mount Attan, which resulted in a very large explosion that shook the entire city of Sana'a. This attack killed more and injured hundreds of people, most of the injuries are very serious. Besides, there are many cases of miscarriage as a result of terror and fear.
The massive explosion resulted also in destruction of hundreds of public and private buildings -- dozens of them were totally destroyed. Saada is also suffering from mass destruction as the airstrikes targeted civilians, shops, petroleum stations, electrical stations and government buildings. Yemen is under siege for more than twenty-five days; it includes air, land and sea.
We cannot receive medication, food or oil derivatives. Yemen has had no electricity for more than 7 days in all 22 governorates due to targeting power stations which led into disastrous situations in hospitals. Due to severe shortage of oil derivatives, life has almost stopped completely.
More than twenty-five million Yemeni citizens are exposed to death, hunger and diseases because of aggression of KSA and its coalition on the Yemeni people.