Houthi rebel fire kills 31 civilians in Yemen's Aden

Houthi rebel fire kills 31 civilians in Yemen's Aden
3 min read
01 July, 2015
Rebel fire on a residential district of Yemen's second city Aden killed at least 31 civilians and wounded 41 early Wednesday, medical sources said.
Aden has witnessed some of the heaviest fighting in the conflict in Yemen (AFP).

Houthi rebels and their allies attacked Aden's Mansoura district with 15 Katyusha rockets from their positions in the Dar Saad neighbourhood, killing 31 civilians.

The rocket fire began before dawn when the streets were busy ahead of the daytime fast observed by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan, a spokesman for local resistance forces, Ali al-Ahmadi, said.

A fresh salvo of rockets later in the morning hit mourners burying some of the dead from the earlier fire, the spokesman and witnesses said.

"Many of the wounded are in serious condition," a medical source told AFP.

Aden was the last refuge of President Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi before he fled into exile in neighbouring Saudi Arabia in March, and locals, many of whom support the secession of southern Yemen, have been battling to defend it against the rebels with the support of Saudi-led air strikes.

The Houthis, along with allied Yemeni army forces loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, have taken most of Aden, and are pushing to take the remaining areas outside of their control.

Prison breakout

In Taiz, some 1,200 inmates fled a prison in Yemen on Tuesday after guards deserted their posts amid fierce fighting between Houthi-Saleh forces and their opponents, officials said.

A security official said the jailbreak in the southwestern city came after its main prison was caught in the crossfire.

It was the third major jailbreak since the Saudi-led air campaign began on March 26. The Houthis seized the capital, Sanaa, last September and control much of the country's north.

Some 300 inmates, including a top militant leader, were freed from a prison in Mukalla after al-Qaida militants captured the southern port city in April. The Houthis also allegedly freed inmates from a prison in the southwestern city of Dhale.

Saudi-led airstrikes meanwhile targeted convoys carrying militiamen sent to reinforce the Houthis and allied forces in the eastern province of Marib, where the rebels are battling Sunni tribesmen, officials said.

They said Saudi-led warplanes also bombed the northern provinces of Sadah, al-Jawf and Amran, along with weapon depots and armored vehicles in a rebel-controlled police camp in the central Bayda province.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

The airstrikes and ground fighting have killed more than 1,000 people and displaced more than a million amid severe shortages of water, food, fuel and medical supplies.

On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch said airstrikes between April 6 and May 11 in the northern city of Sadah, a Houthi stronghold, killed 59 people, including 35 children. It said the strikes targeted houses, five markets, a school and a gas station. The U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said it found no evidence any of the sites were being used for military purposes.

"These attacks appear to be serious laws-of-war violations that need to be properly investigated," said Sarah Leah Whitson, the rights group's Middle East and North Africa director.