83 killed in 2 days amid escalating fight, airstrikes across war-torn Yemen

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-17 05:54:24|Editor: Xiaoxia
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A man takes furniture out of a building after it was hit in airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, on May 17, 2019. The Saudi Arabia-led coalition launched airstrikes on Houthi rebels' targets in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Thursday morning, causing civilian casualties and damages, authorities and local residents said. (Xinhua/Mohammed Mohammed)

ADEN, Yemen, May 16 (Xinhua) -- About 83 Yemenis, mostly Houthi fighters, have been killed over the past 48 hours as a result of ongoing fight and intensified airstrikes that hit many areas across the war-ravaged Arab country.

Yemenis were hoping that the Houthi withdrawal from three key ports in the country's strategic Red Sea port city of Hodeidah under a UN-brokered peace deal may lead to de-escalation of the conflict, but the latest drone attack on Saudi oil facilities has led to the opposite result.

Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that two Aramco pumping stations on its main oil pipeline were attacked by armed drones, causing a limited fire and damage.

Earlier in the day, the Saudi-led coalition, backing Yemen's government in the fighting against the Houthi rebels, conducted a series of airstrikes on the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa in retaliation for the drone attacks on the Saudi oil facilities.

One of the Saudi-led airstrikes targeted a residential neighborhood in Sanaa, killing six civilians, including four children, and wounding dozens of others.

Medics and local residents told Xinhua that one of the Saudi-led airstrikes pounded a house in the Rabat neighborhood at the center of Sanaa, killing six people from one family and injured many others.

The pro-Houthi Health Ministry based in Sanaa confirmed in a statement that six family members including four children were killed and nearly 71 others injured, including 27 children and 17 women.

Two Russian women working in the country's health sector were among the injured, according to the statement revealed by the pro-Houthi Health Ministry.

Sources said more than 25 other airstrikes were carried out by Saudi-led warplanes and targeted different military sites manned by the Houthi group in Atan area, Nahdin Mountain, Nuqum Mountain, the former headquarters of the armored division and other military locations in Sanaa.

Meanwhile, intense armed confrontations between Yemen's government forces and the Houthi rebels continued in escalation and expansion to include many areas across the impoverished Arab country.

The two-warring sides were engaged in fierce fighting that mainly concentrated in al-Dhalea Province, 245 km south of Sanaa.

Sources confirmed to Xinhua that non-stop battles hit many areas of Qataba to the northwest of the government-controlled province of al-Dhalea, causing huge explosions that forced many families to flee.

The official website of Yemen's Defense Ministry said in a brief statement that at least 45 members of the Houthi group were killed in battles with the government forces in the northern areas of al-Dhalea over the past 24 hours.

In the country's western coast, 17 Houthi fighters were killed as they attempted to infiltrate into military positions of the government forces stationed in the south of the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.

Mamun Mahjami, spokesman of the pro-government Giants Brigades, said the army forces aborted several attacks launched by the Houthi fighters against key government-controlled military sites in Hays district in the south of Hodeidah in the past 24 hours.

The Houthi attacks left several soldiers of the pro-government Giants Brigades and a number of civilians injured, he said.

Meanwhile, media outlets of the Houthi rebels accused the pro-government forces of shelling their military positions in the war-torn city of Hodeidah.

The Houthi-run Masirah satellite TV channel reported that the Saudi-backed Yemeni government forces launched more than 20 artillery shells and three missiles against Kilo-16 area in the eastern part of Hodeidah Province.

In Yemen's northeastern province of al-Jawf, armed confrontations broke out between the government forces and the Houthi rebels late on Wednesday, leaving eight dead, including two of the government soldiers and six Houthis.

Sources confirmed to Xinhua that sporadic fighting is still raging between the forces affiliated to the two-warring factions in the eastern areas of al-Jawf.

Also in Yemen's northwestern province of Hajjah, two civilians were injured early on Thursday during a landmine explosion in Haradh district near the borders with Saudi Arabia.

In a statement revealed by the fifth pro-government Regional Military Command, airstrikes launched by the Sauild-led coalition against Houthi-controlled farms in Hajjah killed seven rebel fighters and destroyed a rocket pad launcher belonging to the Houthi militias late on Wednesday.

Yemen has been locked in a civil war since the Shiite Houthi rebels overran much of the country militarily and seized all northern provinces, including Sanaa, in 2014.

Saudi Arabia is leading an Arab military coalition that has intervened in Yemen's conflict since 2015 to support the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after Houthi rebels forced him into exile.

The prolonged military conflict has aggravated the suffering of Yemenis and deepened the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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