18 Dead, 300 Hurt as Raids on Yemen Capital Spark Blasts

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Saudi-led air strikes on a missile depot in Yemen's rebel-held capital Monday sparked explosions that left at least 18 people dead and 300 wounded, flattening houses and shaking faraway neighborhoods.

Many more people were feared to have been killed after two strikes hit the hilltop depot, leaving a trail of destruction in the Fajj Attan area of Sanaa which was covered in thick clouds of smoke.

A coalition of Sunni Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia launched the air campaign against the Huthi Shiite rebels last month, vowing to restore the authority of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled to Riyadh as the militiamen advanced on his southern refuge of Aden.

Riyadh has accused Iran, the main Shiite power, of backing the rebels and fears a Tehran-friendly regime taking control of the country on its southern border.

Monday's strikes on Sanaa triggered a series of blasts that sent shockwaves across the city, leaving cars mangled, buildings gutted and streets completely scattered with debris.

Fires broke out at the targeted missile base and a nearby petrol station, witnesses said, and the scorching heat could be felt from a distance.

Civilians were seen emerging from their shattered homes in the aftermath, some of them carrying suitcases and apparently stunned at the scale of the destruction outside.

Medics at four hospitals in the capital said at least 18 civilians were killed and some 300 others wounded.

The hilltop base belongs to the missile brigade of the elite Republican Guard, which remained loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh who has been accused of siding with the Huthi rebels in their fight against the government.

The Huthis have seized control of large parts of the Arabian Peninsula nation, including Sanaa, and fought fierce battles with pro-government forces.

The Saudi-led coalition says it has carried out more than 2,000 strikes since the start of the campaign, gaining complete control of Yemeni airspace and knocking out rebel infrastructure.

But its spokesman, Brigadier General Ahmed al-Assiri, gave no comment about Monday's blasts in Sanaa during his daily media briefing.

Fighting continued in the south between advancing rebels and local fighters who have sided with Hadi. Eleven rebels and five southern fighters were killed in Huta, the provincial capital of Lahj, the military said.

- Iran mediation rejected - 

The U.N. says the conflict has left hundreds dead and thousands wounded, and there has been increasing concern of a huge humanitarian crisis.

Calls have been growing for peace talks, but authorities on Monday rejected an Iranian offer of mediation.

"Any mediation effort coming from Iran is unacceptable because Iran is involved in the Yemen issue," said Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin.

"The Huthis and Saleh forces must withdraw from all cities and villages of Yemen, including Sanaa and Aden, return to (their northern stronghold of) Saada as civilians, and lay down their arms," he said.

"After that we can talk about dialogue and a political solution. But now there is no room for negotiations."

The exiled authorities was boosted Sunday when the commanders of 25,000 troops in Hadramawt province, the country's largest and on the border with Saudi Arabia, expressed their support for Hadi and his "constitutional legitimacy."

- 'Will never give in' -

But rebel leader Abdulmalik al-Huthi vowed his forces would never surrender.

"Our Yemeni people will never give in -- it will resist in the face of the savage aggression," Huthi said in televised statement on Sunday.

He promised to fight back using "all means and options" and said Riyadh "has no right to interfere" in the country.

Huthi also slammed as "unfair" a U.N. resolution imposing an arms embargo on the rebels and demanding that they return to their highland stronghold.

But in what will be seen as another welcome sign for Hadi, Saleh -- forced out after a 2011 Arab Spring-inspired uprising -- on Sunday welcomed the resolution as a "positive" step, with his party backing calls for a ceasefire and U.N.-mediated talks.

Yemen has long struggled with deep tribal divisions and an insurgency by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), considered by Washington as the jihadist network's most dangerous branch.

Al-Qaida militants have taken advantage of the chaos to seize territory including an army camp in Hadramawt, an airport and provincial capital Mukalla.

On Monday, a U.S. drone killed five al-Qaida suspects in a raid that struck two vehicles in Saeed, in Shabwa province.

Comments 21
Missing mohammad_ca 20 April 2015, 18:19

The deaths were as a result of the exploding missiles in the bombed depot...why are Houthis putting these missiles in civilian areas?

Missing mohammad_ca 20 April 2015, 20:10

Except these are not the words of wither group but of Agence France Presse. I understand that being loyal to vilayet e faqih makes it hard to understand the concept of free press but out in some effort please. Now why were Houthis storing scuds in civilian areas?

Thumb EagleDawn 20 April 2015, 20:36

Glad that the war is moving on to the right place!

Missing mohammad_ca 20 April 2015, 21:28

La inta sa7eb elmukh...an arms depot doesn't mean that it has scud missiles stored there. Check Musric's misguided link above showing Houthis transporting Scuds around. Ya zaki...

Thumb barrymore 20 April 2015, 21:37

20 minutes ago Al-Arabiya: A U.S. ship has intercepted an Iranian ship carrying ammunition in Yemen's territorial waters.

I thought nasrallah and Iran said they were not arming the huthis...... busted!!!

Thumb the_roar 20 April 2015, 18:52

One month of bombing has amounted to nothing...In fact the rebels seem to be more upbeat than ever.

Oh massacre of civilians is not a victory...just shameful & cowardly.

Thumb freedomarch 20 April 2015, 20:14

Rear. With all respect to your analysis, and clearly the sad fact that civilians are paying the price, it is good to note that explosions from scud depots caused the mushroom cloud and caused the death. In a future raids civilians should avoid being near any military base or arms depots whereever it is... we feel for the human loss even the huthis, but they started the process of creating their oun hithilandia against all gulf and arabic countries and deserved such response.

Thumb Mystic 20 April 2015, 18:58

The Wahabis are using scud rockets now on civilians.


Missing mohammad_ca 20 April 2015, 19:34

Did you even read the article you posted Mystic? Ykhrib zo2kon sho aghbiya.

Missing ArabDemocrat.com 20 April 2015, 20:30

The hypocrisy of FT and Mystic knows no bound. They support Assad who killed tens of thousands of civilians. Civilian death are always regrettable and Saudi Arabia must pay more attention to minimizing civilian casualties. But for people who support a regime dropping barrels of explosives on civilians in Syria, it takes an immense amount of hypocrisy.

Missing ArabDemocrat.com 20 April 2015, 20:40

Syria today: 27 civilians killed by regime air raid!

Thumb Mystic 20 April 2015, 21:11

Unlike you people, we don't take civilian deaths with joy.

Missing ArabDemocrat.com 20 April 2015, 21:17

On the contrary, you love it and couch it in ideological BS - And you keep supporting a regime whose airforce alone killed over 2300 syrian civilians over the last 6 months and injured 13,000 more over the last 6 months. At every turn, you see on this web site people supporting m14 who express regrets or call on KSA to be more careful while I have yet to see ONE PERSON supporting m8 calling on Assad to stop bombing civilians.

Thumb EagleDawn 20 April 2015, 19:04

nizlit dam3te man.. ossa mou2assira jiddan jiddan!

Thumb freedomarch 20 April 2015, 20:04

They want to mobilize their own people through anything, no one will notice the difference, who care if this picture is scud or not just cry buckets for killers of Imamo Ali, hold your arms Nd fight. THESE guyes here seem like really part of hizbo tool , peprofessional Hizb zbelleh operating 24/7on Naharnet and similar websites.

Thumb marcus 20 April 2015, 19:24

you certainly read what you want to read, both of you. You ignored the missile depot that was blown up but focused on the civilians nearby. As to "The Wahabis are using scud rockets now on civilians.", I am sure now you don't even know how to read. Your own link has pictures of scud missiles transported by huthis:)

Thumb ex-fpm 20 April 2015, 20:07

what flamethrower was saying the coalition fighter jets were targeting civilians specifically in more than 2300 sorties so far. On this one in particular, they were lucky because a few scud missiles happened to be nearby civilians and got destroyed in the process. Just like hezbollah in Lebanon, they used to fire on Israel from within homes and civilian areas only to cry later that civilians were targeted.

Default-user-icon Corneliu (Guest) 20 April 2015, 20:27

And where is the UNCHR for the killed civilians?
Of course, it's not important, because it wasn't an Israeli raid.

Thumb ex-fpm 20 April 2015, 20:55

This criminal was Assad's personal advisor and his spokesman to the Vatican and Europe. We all recall how he and his cell were distributing at that time in the north of Lebanon leaflets threatening Christians and burning of churches. His (Assad) plan was to assassinate the Batrak and the Mufti of Tripoli among others.

Thumb ex-fpm 20 April 2015, 20:56

sorry, wrong thread....meant for the samba article.

Thumb ex-fpm 20 April 2015, 20:58

smaha article*