Saudi-led coalition strikes targets in Yemen's rebel held Sanaa

Saudi-led coalition strikes targets in Yemen's rebel held Sanaa

Saudi-led warplanes pounded rebel positions in Yemen's capital Monday but Sanaa remains under the control of Houthi militias, a year after they first overran the city.
3 min read
21 September, 2015
The Houthis overran the capital unopposed one year ago [Anadolu]

Saudi-led warplanes pounded rebel positions in Sanaa on Monday as the rebels called a mass rally to mark the first anniversary of their seizure of the Yemeni capital.

Despite six months of coalition airstrikes in support of exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi expanded into a ground operation in late July, rebels still control much of the north and centre of the country.

They overran the capital unopposed one year ago with the support of renegade troop still loyal to Hadi's ousted predecessor Ali Abullah Saleh.

The pre-dawn air strikes on Sanaa targeted Saleh's supporters as well as Houthi rebels, witnesses said.

One raid targeted the home of a leading lawmaker from Saleh's General People's Congress party, Ahmed al-Kahlani, the witnesses said.

Others targeted arms depots in the east of the capital controlled by pro-Saleh army units.

Meanwhile, civil defence officials in Saudi Arabia said that cross-border fire from Yemen's rebels killed one foreigner and wounded 10 people in the kingdom.

The officials said the attack happened late Sunday night in Saudi Arabia's Jizan province.

Of those wounded, Saudi officials say nine are foreigners and one was a Saudi citizen. The officials did not identify the nationalities of the foreigners.

Fall of Sanaa

The rebels called on their supporters to turn out in numbers to mark the anniversary of their seizure of Sanaa and "prove to the world that the people stands by the leadership of the revolution."

The rebels have lost five southern provinces to forces loyal to the exiled president since July and are battling an offensive in Marib province east of the capital.

But as Prime Minister Khaled Bahah returned from exile to the main southern city of Aden last week, he acknowledged that his government still faces challenges, even in the south.

"The future challenge is how to prepare ourselves to defend this city and neighbouring provinces," he said.  

The news came after French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian arrived in the United Arab Emirates Sunday for talks on Yemen and the fight against extremists, a diplomatic source said.

Since September last year, French warplanes based at al-Dhafra airbase near Abu Dhabi have been flying missions targeting the Islamic State group in Iraq.

On Wednesday, Le Drian said France would also launch airstrikes against IS in Syria "in the coming weeks".

He went straight into talks with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, deputy chief of the UAE armed forces.

Their discussions were also expected to centre on Yemen and the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis, which the UAE is a member of.

In early September, a missile strike on a coalition base in Yemen's Marib province killed 67 coalition soldiers, including 52 from the UAE.

Le Drian is also expected to visit Qatar on Monday,