Saudi-led bombardment of Yemeni capital resumes, forcing airport closure

Saudi-led bombardment of Yemeni capital resumes, forcing airport closure
Saudi-led coalition war planes launched intensive air raids on Yemen's rebel-held capital Sanaa early on Tuesday, hitting a factory and leaving 14 dead.
2 min read
09 August, 2016
The Saudi-led coalition launched air raids on Sana early on Tuesday [AFP]
Saudi-led coalition war planes resumed their bombing of Yemen's rebel-held capital Sanaa on Tuesday, forcing the city's airport to close.

Arab military aircraft supporting forces loyal to Yemen's President Abd Rabbo Mansoor Hadi bombed the capital in a series of raids on Tuesday morning, Sanaa residents told The New Arab.

"The coalition airstrikes targeted al-Nahdein area and hit a presidential compound south of Sanaa," a local source said.

The rebel Republican Guard base in Arhab - near the airport - was also hit, residents reported.

The attacks led to the closure of the airport.

"Sanaa's International Airport was closed and flights were suspended for 72 hours," local sources told The New Arab.

Coalition spokesman General Ahmed Assiri confirmed that the air strikes against northern Houthi militants and rebel soldiers loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh had resumed.

At least 14 night-shift workers were killed after Saudi-led air raids hit a factory in Sanaa on Monday, medics told AP.

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Meanwhile, Saudi bombing has forced al-Qaeda militants out of a key town in southern Yemen.

"Al-Qaeda militants have withdrawn from Azzan, the second city in Shabwa province, after coalition raids targeted their gatherings in the city" on Monday night, the official told AFP.

Speaking by telephone a resident said that the militants had retreated northwards and "no longer have a presence" in Azzan.

Saudi-led bombardment come after peace talks in Kuwait between Yemen's internationally-recognised government and the Houthi rebel alliance ended in failure on Saturday.

The closure of Sanaa's airport has prevented the rebels' delegation plane from landing in the capital, Mohammed Abdel-Salam, spokesman for the anti-government alliance said.

The talks - which began in April - broke down last month when the rebels rejected a UN peace plan.

The Houthi alliance want a settlement that includes the formation of a unity government, a proposal which the Aden-based government strongly rejects.

The plan was presented as the UN's final proposal to resolve a conflict that has left at least 6,400 people dead and displaced 2.8 million.

Yemen has been in chaos since the Houthis took over Sanaa in September 2014.

Neighbouring Saudi Arabia - which says the Houthis are backed by Iran - formed a coalition with some Arab allies and launched a campaign of air strikes in March 2015 to push the rebels back.

Despite heavy bombing and huge civilian casualties, the Houthis still control the capital and much of northern Yemen.