Saudi-led airstrikes kill dozens of Yemeni rebels

AP News
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Posted: Sep 27, 2015 12:26 PM

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Saudi-led airstrikes across Yemen killed 38 Shiite Houthi rebels on Sunday, local officials said, as Riyadh announced the death of another high-ranking army officer killed by cross-border fire.

Airstrikes targeting weapons facilities in the Hagga, Marib, Hodeida and Bayda provinces killed a total of 38 Houthis, according to Yemeni security officials who are neutral in the conflict, which has splintered the armed forces. Houthi officials said 22 civilians were killed and 13 were wounded in Hagga and the central Ibb province.

Airstrikes also struck a spa near the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, where the Houthis were secretly storing weapons, the security officials said. A similar strike last week targeted a hotel where they were hiding weapons, the officials said, suggesting improved Saudi intelligence.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

The strikes came as the state-run Saudi Press Agency announced the death of Brig. Gen. Ibrahim Omar Ibrahim Hamzi, the deputy commander of the army's Eighth Brigade. It said he died of injuries sustained while serving in the southern border province of Jizan.

The report did not say how he was killed, but Jizan came under intense cross-border fire from the Houthis on Saturday, which killed a senior Saudi border guard commander and a soldier.

Yemen has been embroiled in fighting that pits the Houthis and forces loyal to a former president against the Saudi-backed and internationally recognized government as well as southern separatists, local militias and Sunni extremists. The U.S.-backed coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against the rebels and their allies since March.

The fighting has killed at least 2,100 civilians, according to U.N. figures.