Saudi-led strikes on Yemen market kills 14 civilians

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The Tuesday strikes also killed 11 rebel fighters and wounded 16 civilians, according to reports

The Saudi-led coalition launched its intervention in support of the internationally recognised government in March 2015 (AFP)
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Wednesday 27 December 2017 12:35 UTC
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Saudi-led air strikes killed 14 civilians in a village market near Yemen's battleground third city Taiz as a nearly three-year bombing campaign intensified, an official and medics said on Wednesday.

The Tuesday strikes also killed 11 rebel fighters and wounded 16 civilians, a local official loyal to the Saudi-backed government told AFP.

The official, who asked not to be identified, said the strikes were intended as air support for a local revolt against the Houthi rebels in the village of Al-Haima, northeast of Taiz, but the warplanes hit the wrong target.

Taiz is held by forces loyal to the Saudi-backed government but much of the surrounding countryside is in the hands of the rebels and it has been a key battleground in the country's devastating civil war.

To the west, on the Red Sea coast, Saudi-led air strikes killed 22 Houthis south of the key rebel-held port of Hudaida, military and medical sources said.

The strikes targeted reinforcements sent by the Houthis from the rebel-held capital Sanaa, the sources said. 

Among the dead was Yasser al-Ahmar, a tribal chief, they added.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron called for a “complete lifting” of a blockade on Yemen in a telephone call with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on 24 December, an Elysee source said on Wednesday.

“The president expressed his strong concerns about the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen and called on the Saudi king to lift completely the blockade to allow humanitarian aid and commercial goods to enter Yemen,” the source said.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said a week ago that it would keep the Houthi-controlled Hodeidah port - vital for aid - open for a month despite another missile attack against Riyadh, but it has kept up air raids.

The Saudi-led coalition launched its intervention in support of the internationally recognised government in March 2015.

But despite its superior firepower, the rebels still control the capital and much of the north.

The coalition has intensified its campaign since the rebels launched missiles at Riyadh on 4 November and 19 December.

On Monday, 53 rebels and 12 government troops were killed in clashes and air strikes south of Hudaida.

More than 8,750 people have been killed since the coalition's intervention began, according to World Health Organisation figures.