Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Yemen's capital kill 29

AP News
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Posted: Sep 19, 2015 10:33 AM
Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Yemen's capital kill 29

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Airstrikes carried out by a Saudi-led coalition against Yemen's Shiite rebels and their allies have killed 29 people, including civilians, in the capital Sanaa, security and medical officials in the city said Saturday.

The coalition's airstrikes overnight hit an apartment building in the center of the capital, an area that is a UNESCO world heritage site, killing a family of nine, said the officials, who remain neutral in the conflict that has divided Yemen's security forces.

Another civilian was also killed and rescuers were searching for other possible victims buried under the rubble. The rebels, known as Houthis, lost 19 fighters in the overnight attack, the officials said.

"It was a terrifying night," Sanaa resident Mohsen Faleeh said. "The airstrikes were heard in every corner of the city."

Yemen has been torn by a ferocious war pitting the Houthis and forces fighting for former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against fighters loyal to exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, as well as southern separatists, local militias and Sunni extremists.

The strikes targeted some of Saleh's estates, prompting pro-Saleh media to circulate a defiant statement from the former president, saying "the person they are searching for lives in the hearts of 25 million Yemenis."

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to brief reporters.

Also Saturday, Oman's foreign ministry said the home of its ambassador in Sanaa was attacked in fighting Friday and it called on all sides in the conflict to resolve their disputes.

The ministry did not give details on the incident or assign blame in its statement. It cited its "deep regret" over the targeting of the residence and said the attack is "a clear violation of the charters and international norms that emphasize the inviolability of diplomatic premises."

The ministry called for an end to the fighting before it poses "a serious threat to the security of the region."

A day earlier, the United Nations' children's agency said it was "appalled" that vital water supplies, which were intended to help 11,000 people, were destroyed in the bombing of a warehouse used by the agency in southern Sanaa.

UNICEF didn't assign blame but Sanaa is a rebel stronghold constantly targeted by coalition airstrikes.

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Associated Press writer Adam Schreck in Dubai, United Arab Emirates contributed to this report.