Witnesses: Arab ships, backed by aircraft, move toward Yemen port

2015-08-18 20:31
A man who was injured during clashes between tribal fighters and Shi’ite rebels in Taiz. (AP)

A man who was injured during clashes between tribal fighters and Shi’ite rebels in Taiz. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sana'a - Warships of a Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen's Houthi rebels were on Tuesday moving toward the key Red Sea port of Hodeida under the cover of air strikes on the city, witnesses told dpa.

Residents of the city said that coalition warplanes carried out heavy aerial raids on the city for the third day running, hitting a ship loaded with sugar, oil and other food supplies in the port as well as a naval base and air defence station.

Hodeida has been a key transit point for aid to Houthi-dominated northern Yemen, which is suffering from a deepening food crisis since the conflict escalated in March.

Locals said that workers and Houthi fighters fled the port, bringing operations there to a halt.

Gulf-backed anti-Houthi fighters have forced the mainly Shi'ite rebels from key positions in central Yemen in the past week, building on victories that saw the rebels expelled from most of the formerly independent south of the country.

The developments came as Amnesty International said the Saudi-led airstrikes and attacks on the ground by the Houthis and their opponents could amount to war crimes.

"Civilians in southern Yemen have found themselves trapped in a deadly crossfire between Houthi loyalists and anti-Houthi groups on the ground, while facing the persistent threat of coalition airstrikes from the sky," said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty's senior crisis response advisor.

The coalition forces conducted unlawful air strikes in "densely populated residential neighbourhoods", while armed groups carried out "indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks in civilian areas", Amnesty said in a report on the conflict.

"The report depicts in harrowing detail the gruesome and bloody trail of death and destruction in Ta'iz and Aden from unlawful attacks, which may amount to war crimes, by all parties," Rovera said.

Amnesty researchers in Yemen examined eight airstrikes that killed at least 141 civilians and injured 101 others, mostly women and children.

It found "a pattern of strikes targeting heavily populated areas including civilian homes, a school, a market and a mosque".

"In the majority of cases no military target could be located nearby," it said.

The researchers also investigated 30 attacks by armed groups in Aden and Taiz that left at least 68 civilians dead and 99 injured.

Their report said both Houthi fighters and their opponents on the ground showed "utter disregard for the safety of civilians".

The armed groups "routinely used imprecise weapons including Grad-type rockets, mortars and artillery fire in densely populated residential areas", it said.

Fighting in Yemen intensified in March when the Houthis advanced on the former southern capital Aden, forcing President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi to flee to Riyadh and prompting a Saudi-led coalition to launch an air campaign against them.

The conflict has cost the lives of over 3 700 people, according to UN figures.

The Houthis, backed by military units loyal to Hadi's predecessor Ali Abdullah Saleh, are facing off against a range of local and tribal fighters, Sunni Islamists, southern secessionists and al-Qaeda militants.

Aid agencies have warned of a humanitarian crisis in the country, which suffered from severe poverty and food and water shortages even before the conflict.

The United Nations says that 21 million people - about 80% of Yemen's population - are currently in need of humanitarian assistance.

Read more on:    yemen

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.