Saudi-led air strikes kill 19 in Yemen

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 09, 2015 9:42 AM

SANAA (Reuters) - Saudi-led air strikes killed at least 19 people across Yemen on Tuesday, Yemeni sources said, a day after Saudi Arabia said shells fired from Yemen had killed two of its soldiers.

The fighting comes amid continued preparations to bring representatives of the Yemeni government, the Iranian-backed Houthi group and former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to talks in Geneva next week.

Yemeni sources said nine Houthi fighters were killed in air strikes on their positions in oil-producing Marib province, east of the capital Sanaa, while four others died in the central Ibb province.

Houthi officials were not immediately available to comment on those reports.

But the state news agency, controlled by the Houthis, said three women had been killed by shelling in Haidan, in the northern Saada province. The agency also said three Yemenis had been killed and four injured in the Hamdan district of Sanaa.

The reports could not be independently verified.

The Saudi-led military coalition also launched air strikes on the Yemeni Defense Ministry compound in Sanaa, but there were no immediate reports of casualties. On Sunday, Saudi-led air strikes on the main army headquarters in Sanaa killed at least 44 people and wounded 100.

On Monday, Saudi state news agency SPA said two Saudi soldiers had been killed when border posts in Dhahran al-Janoub in southern Saudi Arabia were shelled from inside Yemeni territory.

Saudi forces and the Houthis have been trading fire across the border since March, when an Arab alliance began military operations against the Iranian-backed Houthis, who belong to the Zaydi sect of Shi'ite Islam, to try to restore exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power.

The Yemeni army, which is allied to the Houthis, on Saturday fired a Scud missile toward Saudi Arabia in the first attack of its kind on the kingdom since the air strikes began. Saudi Arabia said the missile was shot down by Patriot missiles.

Saudi Arabia has sent extra troops to the border area, as has Bahrain, a member of the coalition. Saudi-owned al-Arabiya channel said Bahraini rocket launchers were used in fending off Houthi attempts to infiltrate the border.

(Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh; editing by Sami Aboudi and Andrew Roche)