Saudi air raids in response to Houthi attacks on pipelines

At least nine military posts hit in the center of Sana'a and on the outskirts of the capital. Yesterday there were heavy clashes between rebels and pro-Saudi government in the port city of Hudaydah. Unconfirmed loyalist sources announce the killing of a hundred fighters.

Sana'a (AsiaNews / Agencies) - This morning the Saudi-led Arab coalition carried out a series of air raids in the Sana'a region (capital of Yemen) against Houthi targets, in response to recent attacks by rebels against oil facilities in the kingdom. The news has been confirmed by several inhabitants of the area and Houthi sources, broadcast by the al-Arabiya satellite channel.

An eye witness reported a "strong explosion" in the center of Sana'a. The Houthi-controlled Al-Massirah television chain spoke of bombings by Saudi aggressor aircraft. According to various witnesses, the air raids have centered nine military positions of Shiite rebels - supported by Iran - in the city and in the suburbs.

Yesterday the clashes between the two fronts also concerned the port city of Hudaydah, where a peace agreement mediated by the United Nations had been brokered by has been so far ignored. The fighting represented yet another violation of the ceasefire and could further complicate troop withdrawal operations as envisaged by the agreement

May 11 the Houthi rebels began operations to withdraw from three strategic ports in the country, including that of Hudaydah. From here come primary goods like food, humanitarian aid and medicine, to feed millions of reduced Yemenis threatened by famine and conflict.

The Saudi government media, meanwhile, claim the killing of a hundred Houthi by loyalist forces loyal to Riyadh. Added to this is the capture of at least 120 fighters during a surprise attack in the central region of Dali. However, the information cannot be independently verified and the Houthis have not yet wanted to confirm or deny the news.

This takes place the day after the insurgents announced that they had hit and damaged a series of oil pipelines in Saudi Arabia with a drone attack. A further signal of the escalation of tension in the region between Iran and the United States, and their respective allies in the Middle East region. Meanwhile, the Houthi rebels threaten new operations against strategic economic targets for Riyadh.

The war in Yemen broke out in 2014 as an internal conflict between pro-Saudi government and Shiite Houthi rebels close to Iran, but later degenerated in March 2015 with the intervention of the Arab coalition led by Riyadh.

So far it has registered over 10 thousand deaths and 55 thousand injured. Independent bodies set the toll (between January 2016 and end of July 2018) at about 50 thousand deaths. Since it only concerns the combatants, not the "indirect victims" (civilians) who have died from malnutrition or cholera.

Children are the primary victims of what is being described as the worst humanitarian crises in the world. Thousands have died as a result of bombs or very serious malnutrition: at least 85,000 children under the age of five, according to various international humanitarian agencies. Recently UN experts have said that at least 14 million people are at risk of starvation. Moreover there are an estimated 2500 child soldiers.