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Saudi-led strikes kill at least 12 Yemeni rebels

By AFP   |   27 April 2015   |   1:23 pm  
yemen rebelsSaudi-led coalition warplanes hit anti-government forces in south Yemen Monday, killing at least 12 Huthi insurgents and allied forces as fighting continued across several provinces, military and local sources said.The aircraft pounded five schools converted by the Shiite rebels into military bases in Ataq, the capital of Abyan province, military sources said.

The raids killed at least 12 insurgents and troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has allied himself with the northern rebels against the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, the sources said.

Also in Abyan, warplanes targeted rebel positions on the outskirts of Loder, the province’s second largest city, witnesses said.

Clashes were ongoing southwest of Loder between rebels and southern forces that have sided with Hadi, they added.

Fierce fighting also raged in the central city of Taez, with the warring parties using tanks and rocket-propelled grenades inside residential areas, local officials said.

Medics said at least 16 civilians were killed in Taez on Sunday. Coalition warplanes meanwhile hit rebel positions east of Taez overnight, witnesses said.

The United Nations says more than 1,000 people have been killed in fighting in Yemen since late March, when Saudi Arabia assembled an Arab coalition in support of Hadi.

The embattled leader asked for Gulf intervention after the rebels closed in on his refuge in the southern port city of Aden after they had overrun several provinces since September, including the capital.

He has since fled to Saudi Arabia.

Air strikes have continued despite a coalition announcement last week of an end to its air campaign dubbed “Operation Decisive Storm”.

The coalition is now working on military and political fronts to reestablish the legitimate authority in Sanaa, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and UAE armed forces chief Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan said.

The campaign’s new phase is based on a “multilayered strategy, including military, as well as politics and development, to reestablish the legitimacy,” he said during a visit to UAE armed forces in Saudi Arabia taking part in the coalition.

“We have no other choice but to succeed in the test of Yemen,” he said, according to UAE daily Al-Ittihad.

He stressed the UAE’s determination to act alongside other Arab countries to confront “regional agendas that reflect greed,” an apparent reference to Gulf neighbour Iran which is accused of backing the rebels.

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