Death toll from Yemen Shiite rebel shelling doubles

July 21, 2015 10:49 am

 A boy looks through a hole in a classroom of a school damaged by Saudi-led airstrikes in Sanaa, . Photo/AP

The death toll in Yemen from the Shiite rebel shelling of a town near
the southern port city of Aden rose to nearly 100, the head of an
international aid group said, describing it as “the worst day” for the
city and its surroundings in over three months of fighting.
The
rebels, known as Houthis, and their allies started shelling the town of
Dar Saad on Sunday after earlier losing control of some of Aden’s
neighborhoods. The violence highlighted the bloody chaos of the civil
war gripping the Arab world’s poorest country, which also has been the
target of Saudi-led, U.S.-backed airstrikes since late March.
Hassan
Boucenine of the Geneva-based Doctors Without Borders said that by
Monday, his organisation reported nearly 100 people dead, twice the
casualty toll from the previous day.
The shelling also wounded about 200 people, said Boucenine, the head of the organisation in Yemen.

Of the victims, 80 per cent are civilians, including many pregnant women, elderly and children, he added.
“Yesterday
was the worst day in Aden since (the Saudi-led coalition campaign)
started in March,” Boucenine told The Associated Press, adding that he
fears “attacks on civilians will continue.”
Sunday’s shelling in
Dar Saad began after the Houthi rebels lost control of much of the Aden
district of Tawahi, according to officials and witnesses. Tawahi is now
under a security lockdown, the officials said, as anti-Houthi forces
search buildings looking for rebels, some of whom had fled to the nearby
mountains.

A man, centre, inspects his shop destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike at a market in Sanaa, Yemen. Photo/AP
A man, centre, inspects his shop destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike at a market in Sanaa, Yemen. Photo/AP
Overnight, the Saudi-led coalition targeted Houthi
positions north of Aden and in Dar Saad, killing at least 55 rebels,
officials and witnesses said.
The coalition also struck the home
of Mehdi Meqlawa, a prominent supporter of former President Ali Abdullah
Saleh, in a Sanaa suburb. In the Yemeni capital, it also hit Houthi
headquarters near the Souq Aziz market, killing one person.
Rebel
shelling continued Monday in Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city, killing
eight residents, while ground fighting raged on in Marib, with six
anti-Houthi tribesmen and 10 Houthi fighters killed in clashes. All
officials and eyewitnesses spoke on condition of anonymity because they
were not authorised to talk to reporters or feared reprisals.
Houthi officials declined to comment on the fighting.
The
spokesman of the Yemeni government in exile, Rageh Badie, said they
appointed the head of the Resistance Council, Nayef al-Bakri, as
governor of Aden. Al-Bakri served as deputy to the former governor,
Abdulaziz bin Habtoor, who fled the embattled city earlier this year.
Al-Bakri is joined by the exiled deputy minister of health and the
transportation and interior ministers, who have flown into Aden two days
ago from Saudi Arabia. Other exiled ministers will follow suit over the
next few weeks, Badie said.
On Monday evening, a car bomb went
off near the house of a Houthi rebel leader in the capital Sanaa,
killing seven and damaging the gates of the house, according to
witnesses and officials.

People gather on the rubble of shops destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike at a market in Sanaa, Yemen. Photo/AP
People gather on the rubble of shops destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike at a market in Sanaa, Yemen. Photo/AP
Medical officials said six people were also wounded in the
attack. One security official said five were killed. It was not possible
to reconcile the difference in casualty figures, common in the
immediate aftermath of such attacks. A local affiliate of the Islamic
State group claimed responsibility for the car bomb in the western Garef
neighborhood, saying it targeted a “den” of the Houthis, according to a
statement shared on Twitter accounts of supporters of the Isis group.
It
was not immediately clear if the Houthi leader, Ihab al-Kuhlani, was at
home at the time of the attack and whether he was affected by the
bombing.
The Houthi tv station Al-Masirah reported only that a
car bomb went off in the Garef Neighborhood, without offering further
details.
The area around the house was cordoned off by Houthi security forces after the attack.
Yemen’s
conflict pits the Iran-allied Houthis and troops loyal to the former
president, Saleh, against an array of forces, including southern
separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni Islamic militants as well
as loyalists of exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who is backed
internationally.

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