Dozens dead in Saudi airstrike on Yemen marketplace

Dozens dead in Saudi airstrike on Yemen marketplace
At least 45 civilians said to have died in a marketplace north of Aden, hours after an airstrike targeted Saleh's party headquarters in Sanaa.
2 min read
06 July, 2015
UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed is in talks with rebels. [Getty]

At least 45 civilians have been killed in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a marketplace north of Yemen's second-city Aden, in a strike believed to have targeted rebels, Yemeni security officials and eyewitnesses said.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to release the information otherwise, say more than 50 civilians were also wounded in the strike on Monday in Fayoush, a suburb of the southern port city of Aden.

The officials said that bodies were strewn about following the strike and that Saudi-led airstrikes continued across the country.

The officials say they do not identify with either the Houthi rebels, and allied army units loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, or the camp of the exiled president Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi. 

Late on Sunday, Saudi-led airstrikes pounded the Sanaa headquarters of Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh's General People's Congress party, killing and wounding several people, witnesses and a party official said.  

The strikes coincided with a visit to the Yemeni capital by the UN  special envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who is seeking to arrange a pause in fighting until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on about July 17 to allow for deliveries of humanitarian aid. 

A Saudi-led coalition has conducted a more than three-month bombing campaign against the Houthis and army units loyal to Saleh to try to restore Hadi, who is in exile in Riyadh. 

The General People's Congress party's assistant secretary general, Faeqa al-Sayed, said the party headquarters had been destroyed.  

The raids were an attempt to make the talks with the UN fail, she said, adding that several employees and others were killed. 

"This will not make us back down on our efforts .... to create the suitable environment to cooperate with the United Nations," she said in a statement on the party's website. 

Ould Cheikh Ahmed arrived in Sanaa on Sunday for talks with the Houthis, after discussions in Muscat, Oman to push for a pause in fighting that has killed nearly 3,000 since March. 

Both sides largely observed a five-day truce brokered by the United Nations in May to allow in fuel and medicine to civilians trapped in conflict zones.

Saleh, the dictator who resigned following 2011 "Arab Spring" protests after more than three decades in power, has emerged as the main military ally of the Houthi Shia fighters. 

The strikes late on Sunday also hit the home of former president Saleh's nephew and several houses belonging to Houthi supporters in the south and west of the capital Sanaa.