Saudi air strike kills Yemen rebels as US drawn into fight
Yemen's Houthi rebels claim a Saudi Arabia air strike on Sunday killed 54 people, including women and children. The US is increasingly concerned restive Yemen is becoming a haven for terrorism.
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A Saudi air strike late Sunday has reportedly killed dozens, including women and children, in a north Yemen town known to support that country’s Houthi rebels. The strike highlights growing concern about stability on the Arabian peninsula as the US is reportedly becoming more involved in planning and executing strikes on Yemen’s anti-government militants.
A spokesman for the Houthis claimed that a Saudi “massacre” killed 54 people in the town of Al Nadheer in the northern province of Saada, reports Agence France-Presse. The group also claimed on Sunday night that Saudi forces were advancing on the nearby town of Zawa, also in Saada, and had launched “more than 200 shells.”
There has been no independent verification of these claims and little word from the governments of Yemen or Saudi Arabia.
Citing Iran’s Press TV and the Arabic-language news site Al Baida, Yemeni news site Al Sahwa Yemen reports that Saudi military sources say they have taken several Houthi positions in Saada and captured an unknown number of fighters.
They say Saudi forces “repelled rocket attacks launched by the Houthi fighters,” who were planning an offensive inside Saudi Arabia. However, rebel sources instead tell Al Sahwa Yemen that Saudi forces targeted civilian areas with 60 rounds of air strikes.
Saudi Arabia became active in Yemen’s 5-year-old Houthi conflict on Nov. 3, when rebels briefly seized two Saudi villages in a cross border raid that also killed a border guard, says AFP. The Christian Science Monitor reported earlier this fall that the Saudi government has been deeply worried that growing instability in Yemen could lead to its use as a base for Al Qaeda, which is committed to overthrowing the Saudi royal family.