Sanaa (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Sunni militias in Yemen, supported by Arab coalition air raids of led by Riyadh, have inflicted a heavy defeat on the Shiite Houthi rebels, resting control of some strategic military sites from them in the southern city of Dhale . Currently the toll of dead and wounded in the battle is not clear. According to some sources, dozens of rebels have been killed and a further 70 injured in the clashes.
Meanwhile, the coalition air strikes continued for the whole day yesterday hit ting the capital Sanaa and other parts of the country. Local sources said that a house belonging to Ahmed Saleh, son of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, has been destroyed. The former head of state, along with Iran, is one of the main supporters of Houthi rebels.
Yesterday’s bombing of the Yemeni capital has provoked the reaction of Iran. The Foreign Ministry convoked the diplomatic representative of Saudi Arabia in Tehran; according to the Iranian government the explosions targeted area close to its embassy to Yemen.
The UN says so far at least 1500 people - 828 of them civilians - have been killed by the Arab coalition war, which is destroying many artistic sites of the ancient capital, considered a Unesco world heritage site.
The international body has long denounced the high number of civilian casualties, as well as the humanitarian disaster - lack of food, water, medicine, fuel - caused by air and sea blockade imposed by the coalition.
Meanwhile, the prospects for peace in Yemen are becoming more bleak, with the intensification of shelling and fighting in different areas of the country. Yemeni sources, confirmed by the United Nations, report that the peace conference scheduled for May 28 has been postponed until a later date.
From his exile in Saudi Arabia President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi is calling for parties to respect the UN resolution and for the withdrawal of Houthi rebels from all territories before engaging in any peace negotiations.
In contrast, the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has called on the parties to enter into dialogue without any pre-conditions.