Saudi-led strikes on Yemen market kills 14 civilians

Saudi-led strikes on Yemen market kills 14 civilians
Saudi-led airstrikes killed 14 civilians in a village market near Yemen's battleground third city Taiz as a nearly three-year bombing campaign intensified.
2 min read
27 December, 2017
Saudi-led raids have intensified in recent weeks [Getty]
At least 14 civilians were killed in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a village market near Yemen's battleground third city Taiz on Tuesday, as a nearly three-year bombing campaign intensified, an official and medics said.

The strikes also killed 11 rebel fighters and wounded 16 civilians, a local official loyal to the Saudi-backed government told AFP.

The official, who asked not to be identified, said the strikes were intended as air support for a local revolt against the Houthi rebels in the village of al-Haima, northeast of Taiz, but the warplanes hit the wrong target.

Taiz is held by forces loyal to the Saudi-backed government but much of the surrounding countryside is in the hands of the rebels and it has been a key battleground in the country's devastating civil war.

To the west, on the Red Sea coast, Saudi-led airstrikes killed 22 Houthis south of the key rebel-held port of Hodeidah, military and medical sources said.

The strikes targeted reinforcements sent by the Houthis from the rebel-held capital Sanaa, the sources said. 

Among the dead was Yasser al-Ahmar, a tribal chief, they added.

It comes as government troops and coalition forces advance along the Red Sea coast, after seizing the town of Khokha earlier this month. 

The stated goal is to reach Hodeidah, Yemen's second largest port and a key entry point for aid to the country, which the UN has warned faces "the largest famine the world has seen for many decades".

But the coalition has met strong resistance from the Houthis, who control the capital Sanaa and most of northern Yemen.

A Saudi-led coalition has been waging an air campaign against Yemen's Houthi rebels since March 2015 in an attempt to shore up the internationally recognised government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

Fighting and air raids have intensified since December 19, when Saudi air defences intercepted a ballistic missile fired by the Houthis towards the capital Riyadh. 

More than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict since the coalition's intervention in the impoverished country, where more than 2,000 people have also died of cholera this year.

The UN human rights office said it had tallied 136 civilians killed and another 87 wounded in strikes on Sanaa, Saada, Hodeida, Marib and Taiz governorates between December 6 and 16.