News ID: 237631
Published: 0313 GMT January 20, 2019

Saudi-led planes pound Yemen's capital

Saudi-led planes pound Yemen's capital

Saudi-led forces launched overnight airstrikes on Yemen's capital, described by one resident on Sunday as the worst in a year, as the United Nations struggles to implement a peace deal.

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition said its warplanes attacked seven military facilities used for drone operations in Sana’a, which is held by Houthi forces.

Yemen's nearly four-year-old war has killed tens of thousands and left millions on the brink of starvation.

The coalition's claim that the airstrikes hit a drone facility could not be immediately confirmed. Security officials said a food factory near the airport was hit, killing two workers, and a plastics factory elsewhere in the city was also targeted, starting a large fire.

They said the airstrikes also hit the former headquarters of the army's 1st Armored Division and military repair workshops. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media.

News photographers who headed to the plastics factory Sunday morning were prevented by authorities from taking photos of the smoldering remains.

 Houthi-run al-Masirah TV said on Sunday that the coalition had conducted 24 airstrikes on Sana’a since Saturday evening, including four on the airbase. It said a plastics factory was also hit, causing a large fire.

Footage showed a large crater next to the factory, and damaged homes nearby.

"The raids were very violent, the likes of which we have not seen for a year," Sana’a resident Arwa Abdul Karim said. "The house shook so much we thought it would fall on our heads."


Fragile truce holds in Hodeida

The escalation in fighting, which follows a deadly Houthi drone attack last week on a military parade held by the former Yemeni government, augurs badly for a second round of UN-sponsored talks this month aimed at ending the war.

Earlier this month, a bomb-laden drone launched by the Houthis targeted a military parade near the former government-held city of Aden on the Arabian Sea, killing at least seven people, including the commander of military intelligence.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded Yemen in 2015 to try to reinstate former president Abdrabboh Mansour Hadi a year after he resigned

The United Nations is trying to implement a cease-fire and troop withdrawal agreement in the port city of Hodeida, the main entry point for most of Yemen's imports and aid.

In the first significant breakthrough in peace efforts, a deal was reached in talks in Sweden last month to avert a full-scale assault on the port.

The truce has largely held in Hodeida, which is controlled by the Houthis with thousands of Saudi-backed forces massed on the outskirts. But the withdrawal of forces by both sides has stalled over disagreements over who would control the Red Sea city.

Rights groups have criticized the Saudi-led coalition for airstrikes that have killed thousands of civilians at hospitals, schools and markets since 2015.  

Western nations, including some which supply the coalition with arms and intelligence, have pressed Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to end the conflict that has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.

 Reuters and AP contributed to this story.



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