September 24, 2019 / 10:27 AM / a month ago

Air strikes in Yemen kill at least 16 civilians, Houthis say

DUBAI (Reuters) - Air strikes blamed on the Saudi-led coalition killed at least 16 people in Yemen’s disputed province of al-Dhalea on Tuesday, two residents and the Houthi-run al-Masirah TV said.

The Saudi-led coalition did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In Tehran, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi condemned the strikes as “war crimes” and called for a political solution in Yemen, the state news agency IRNA said.

“The spokesman voiced regret over the new Saudi war crimes carried out with arms supplied by America and some European countries and said: “...The aggressors in Yemen continue to insist on beating the drum of war and committing their strategic mistake of using a military approach,” IRNA reported.

The Houthis this month claimed an assault on Saudi oil facilities which initially halved the kingdom’s production. Washington and Riyadh blame Iran for that attack, which Tehran denies.

Al-Masirah TV said 16 people in one building - including seven children - had died in strikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition.

Saudi Arabia leads a coalition that intervened in 2015 to restore the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, which the Houthis ousted from power in the capital Sanaa in late 2014. It has carried out many air strikes in Houthi areas.

Two residents told Reuters that 17 people had died in the strikes on Qataba, a frontline town which lies on the main north-south route between Houthi-controlled Sanaa and the southern port city of Aden.

Aden is nominally the interim seat of Yemen’s internationally recognised government, but southern separatists seized control of the city last month.

A coalition spokesman said later on Tuesday that Houthi forces had fired a ballistic missile from Amran, northwest of Sanaa, and that it had fallen inside Houthi territory in Yemen. It was unclear whether this was intended as retaliation for Tuesday’s air strikes.

Violence from both sides during the war has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed millions to the brink of famine.

Nine people, including three children, died this month when shelling from Houthi-controlled territory hit their house south of the major port city of Hodeidah, medical sources told Reuters.

The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said eight women and one child had been admitted to a nearby hospital after shelling.

Reporting by Reuters team in Yemen, additional reporting by Dubai newsroom.; Writing by Lisa Barrington,; Editing by Gareth Jones

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