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Led Airstrike Kills 21 Civilians

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At least 21 civilians were killed in an airstrike by a Saudi-led coalition near the coastal city of Hodeida in war-torn Yemen, rebels claimed on Thursday.

Youssef al-Hadiri, a spokesman for the rebel-controlled Health Ministry, said the Wednesday strike hit a crowd of people in the town of Bayat al-Faqih south of Hodeida, also injuring 11 others.

All the victims are civilians, al-Hadiri told dpa.

Local residents said the strike targeted a crowd of farmers at a vegetable market in the town, resulting in unspecified casualties.

So far, there has been no comment from the Saudi-led coalition, which has been fighting Yemen’s Iran-allied rebel Houthis since 2015.

Rebel-controlled Hodeida has been the target of a coalition-backed offensive since June.

The government forces have since seized Hodeida’s airport, and are pushing to retake the city and its port, through which an estimated 80 per cent of imports and aid reach Yemen.

Aid agencies have repeatedly warned that the offensive would have devastating consequences for the country’s population, which is already on the brink of famine.

This week, the United Nations warned that Yemen is in danger of being engulfed by an “imminent and great big famine’’ that could affect 14 million people or around half of the population.

One of the Arab world’s poorest countries, Yemen has been embroiled in a devastating power struggle between the Saudi-backed government and the Houthis since late 2014.

The conflict intensified when Saudi Arabia and other Sunni allies started an air campaign in 2015 to halt the Shiite group’s advance towards Aden, the temporary seat of the government.

 



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