Saudi-led airstrike kills 11 civilians in Yemen’s capital

Sanaa, Feb 15 (IANS) A Saudi-led airstrike killed at least 11 people and wounded four others in Yemen’s rebel-held capital Sanaa on Sunday, officials and witnesses said.

The rebel-controlled state Saba news agency reported that the airstrike at Sunday dawn hit a sewing workshop and adjacent electronics warehouse owned by citizens in downtown Sanaa, killing 11 labourers, Xinhua reported.

A medical official said that two employees of the sewing workshop and other nine labourers working at the electronics warehouse store were killed in the airstrike, while four others wounded.

Witnesses said the two private companies were destroyed and burned down and dozens of nearby houses were also damaged in the heavily residential quarter of Shauub near the old city.

The Saudi-led coalition warplanes have been air bombing on a daily basis the Shia Houthi rebels and their allied forces’ of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa and other cities since March 2015.

The rebels, backed by Saleh’s loyalist forces, captured Sanaa in September 2014, and forced internationally recognised President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi along with his government into exile.

The mostly Arab coalition, formed at the request of oil-rich Saudi Arabia, vows to restore Hadi and his government back to Sanaa and drive out the Iranian-allied Shia rebels.

More than 6,000 people have been killed in ground battles and airstrikes since then, half of them civilians.

The coalition-backed Yemeni pro-government forces have advanced to within 50 km of Sanaa last week, after recapturing military posts in Nihm district and its mountains overlooking the rebel-held capital from the northeast.

The advance, backed by the Saudi-led warplanes, came very slowly because of minefields planted by the rebels in roads ahead towards Sanaa.

Scores from both sides were killed in the still ongoing mountainous battles near Sanaa, as hundreds of villagers were forced to flee their houses and farms to seek refuge in the capital.

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