Saudi-led coalition intensifies Yemen airstrikes as USA raises humanitarian concerns

Francis Osborne
December 7, 2017

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York Tuesday that two airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition struck close to the U.N. compound in the capital Sanaa on Monday after the U.N. called for a halt to fighting to deliver aid. The Arab League's general secretariat condemned the Iran-aligned Houthi movement which killed Saleh as a "terrorist organisation" and demanded that the worldwide community view it as such. He called for his father's backers to "take back Yemen from the Iranian Houthi militias".

"I will lead the battle until the last Houthi is thrown out of Yemen the blood of my father will be hell ringing in the ears of Iran", Ahmed Ali Saleh was quoted as saying.

Saleh's forces were key to helping the Houthis overrun Sanaa in 2014, and then much of the north and center of the country.

Saleh was killed on Monday after he tried to break off the alliance with the Houthis and negotiate with the Saudi coalition.

- Houthi rebels hold over 40 journalists hostage in Yemen.

A video circulating on social media showed fully-veiled women chanting "The people want the martyr's body".

Since November 29, armed clashes sparked by forces loyal to Saleh, have continued against Houthi forces that are at the forefront of a retaliatory war against the Saudi-led military coalition.

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The Arabian peninsula's poorest country, Yemen is one of the most violent fronts in a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, who have also backed opposing sides in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere across the Middle East.

But with Saleh's forces seemingly in disarray, it was not immediately clear if the Saudi-led coalition would be able to turn the split to its advantage. That helped propel Yemen into the ruinous civil war that has spread hunger and disease among its 28 million people.

The casualty tolls provided by the ICRC are separate from those sustained in airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition which is waging war on the rebels, known as Houthis.

Clashes in the Yemeni capital have killed at least 234 people and wounded 400 since December 1, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Tuesday.

Jamie McGoldrick of United Nations aid agency OCHA says civilians in Sanaa are "emerging from their houses after five days being locked down, basically prisoners", to seek safety, medical care, fresh water and other survival needs.

Saleh's slaying likely gives the rebels the upper hand in the dayslong fighting for the country's capital, Sanaa. It is reported that only five people attended the funeral.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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