Dozens dead in Saudi airstrike on Yemen's pro-Hadi army

Dozens dead in Saudi airstrike on Yemen's pro-Hadi army
Reasons for the airstrike on 23rd Mechanised Brigade, a pro-Hadi army base, are uncertain, as bombs claimed by IS also target Houthi rebels on Tuesday evening.
2 min read
08 July, 2015
Hadi still has the loyalty of some sections of the Yemeni army [AFP].

In an unusual move, Saudi-led coalition airstrikes targeted a pro-Hadi army camp on Tuesday evening, leaving dozens of anti-Houthi soldiers dead, sources told al-Araby al-Jadeed.

40 people died in the strikes on 23rd Mechanised Brigade, which lies near the Saudi border and is one of the few major army bases in the country not to fall to the forces of the Houthis and allied army units loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Dozens of people were also injured.

The dead are believed to include some commanders of the unit, and the reasons for the attack are unknown, with early reports varying wildly between talk of a mistake by the Saudi-led coalition and others of a mutiny at the base.

No official statement has been released by the coalition.

The 23rd Mechanised Brigade lies in Hadramaut, a province that remains outside of Houthi-Saleh control, and was being used to train forces to fight the rebels, who have taken over Yemen's capital Sanaa, and forced Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia.

Also on Tuesday evening, a car bomb exploded outside a mosque in Sanaa, killing at least one person and wounding five, in an attack targeting the Houthis claimed by the Islamic State group (IS, formerly ISIS).

The car bomb, at the al-Raoudh mosque near Sanaa's historic Bab al-Yemen, went off as worshippers were leaving after evening prayers, witnesses and a security official said.

A medical source told AFP that at least one person was killed and five more wounded.

In a brief statement posted on militant websites, IS said that it had “taken revenge” against the Houthis.

Houthis were also targeted in a car bomb on Tuesday evening in al-Baida, a province in central Yemen held by the Houthis but that also has a strong al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) presence.

Four Houthis were killed in the suicide car bomb on a police station, and 10 were wounded.

The Houthis, with the help of Saleh, entered Sanaa in September, and effectively took control of state institutions in February, before Saudi Arabia began airstrikes, along with several allies, on March 26, in an attempt to restore Hadi.

Over 2,800 people are reported to have died in the airstrikes and the ground fighting, as aid organisations urge an end to the conflict as what is fast becoming a humanitarian crisis continues.

More than a million people have been displaced since March, joining the more than 300,000 who had been made homeless before the fighting began, and more than 46,000 people have fled Yemen, according to the UNHCR.