Five civilians killed in Yemen port bombardment

Five civilians killed in Yemen port bombardment
Five civilians killed in Yemen port bombardment

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Smoke billows from the site of a Saudi-led air strike in Sanaa, Yemen November 27, 2020. — Reuters pic

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DUBAI, Feb 28 — Five civilians including a child were killed today when their house was bombarded near Yemen’s strategic Red Sea port of Hodeida, the latest violence in the grinding civil war.

The Saudi-backed government and Houthi rebels traded blame for the devastating attack near frontlines south of the Houthi-held port.

“Five civilians, including a woman and a child, were killed in a mortar bomb strike on their residence by the Houthis,” a government military official told AFP.

But the Iran-backed Houthis, according to the rebel-run Saba news agency, said the explosion was caused by two air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition, which intervened in the war in 2015 to back the internationally recognised government.

Hodeida, which lies some 145 kilometres south-west of the rebel-held capital Sanaa, is a lifeline gateway for food, fuel and humanitarian aid.

The United Nations last month warned that thousands of Yemeni civilians were at risk in the western Hodeida province after fighting escalated.

Last month Houthi fighters fought with pro-government forces south of the port in some of heaviest clashes since a UN-negotiated truce in 2018.

The violence comes amid heavy fighting in the Marib region, some 120 kilometres (75 miles) east Sanaa, as Houthi forces seek to wrest control of the government’s last northern stronghold.

The Houthis have also stepped up drone and missile strikes on Saudi Arabia, including a thwarted missile attack on Riyadh on Saturday, the kingdom said.

Yemen’s conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions, according to international organisations, sparking what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. — AFP

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