SANAA – Arab coalition warplanes bombed rebel camps in Yemen Friday in a second straight day of strikes led by Saudi Arabia, which accused Iran of “aggression” across the region.
A months-long rebellion by Shia fighters has escalated into a regional conflict that threatens to tear apart the impoverished state at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.
Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia has vowed to do “whatever it takes” to prevent the fall of its ally President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, accusing Shia Iran of backing the Houthi rebels’ power grab.
At least 39 civilians have been killed so far in the Saudi-led Operation Decisive Storm against the Houthis, officials at the rebel-controlled health ministry in the capital said.
Twelve of the victims died when surrounding residential areas were hit in a raid against a military base north of the capital, the officials told.
Three dawn strikes Friday hit the presidential compound in south Sanaa which the rebels seized last month, witnesses said.
Warplanes also bombed a Houthi-controlled army brigade in Amran province, north of the capital, and arms depots in the northern rebel stronghold of Saada, residents said.
Hadi, backed by the West and Gulf Arab states, arrived in Riyadh on Thursday with officials saying he was on his way to Egypt to take part in a two-day Arab League summit at the weekend.
It was the first confirmation of his whereabouts since the rebels began advancing this week on the main southern city of Aden, where the president had taken refuge since fleeing Sanaa last month.
Saudi Arabia says more than 10 countries, including four other Gulf monarchies, have joined the anti-Houthi coalition.As explosions rocked Sanaa, those families who have not already fled huddled in fear in their homes.
“Whenever a plane flies over our home and is met by anti-aircraft gunfire, my three children run to a corner and start screaming and crying,” said Mohammed al-Jabahi, 32.
“We spent a night of non-stop terror and hysteria. “An anti-aircraft missile wounded eight people, one of them seriously, when it exploded in a market in Sanaa on Friday, a day after it was fired by Huthi fighters, a security official said.
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The 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.
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