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18 Houthis, 15 civilians killed in Saudi strikes in Yemen

Saudi-led airstrikes, Houthis shelling are causing high civilian casualties
Members of Ansarullah Movement (Houthis) march in the streets of Sanaa on 20 February, 2015 (AA)

Eighteen Houthi militants and 15 civilians were killed on Tuesday after Saudi-led coalition warplanes struck a checkpoint manned by Houthi militants in southern Yemen's Dhamar city, eyewitnesses have said.

Dozens of people have also been injured in the strikes on the checkpoint, located in Dhamar's Yarim district, eyewitnesses told the Anadolu Agency.

Overnight, the Saudi-led coalition targeted several Houthi-held sites in capital Sanaa and other parts of Yemen.

The fighter jets have targeted Sanaa International Airport as well as a Houthi military camp in northern Sanaa, according to security sources.

However, it remains unclear whether these raids had left any material damage.

The coalition warplanes have also shelled Houthi-held sites in western Yemen's Taiz and Al-Hudaydah provinces, according to eyewitnesses.

Since last Wednesday, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have pounded positions of the Shiite Houthi militant group across Yemen.

Riyadh says the strikes are in response to appeals by embattled President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to "save the [Yemeni] people from the Houthi militias."

Houthis kill 13 civilians in Aden

At least 13 civilians were killed on Monday in artillery shelling by Houthi militia of the southern city of Aden.

"Thirteen civilians were killed in Houthi artillery shelling of two districts in Aden," a medical source told AA.

Several civilians were reportedly injured in clashes between Houthi militants and local fighters in northern Aden.

In another development, seven Houthi militants were killed by local groups loyal to President Hadi, according to sources.

Houthis kill 8 protesters in Taiz

Meanwhile, a Yemeni NGO has accused Shiite Houthi militants and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh of killing eight protesters in the central Taiz province.

"Houthi militants and pro-Saleh forces attacked two protests in Taiz on Tuesday, killing eight protesters and injuring 108 others," Citizenship, an NGO, said in a Monday statement.

At least 27 people were killed on Monday in renewed fighting between Houthi militants and forces loyal to President Hadi in the southern city of Ad Dali, a local medical source told AA.

For some time now, Ad Dali has been the scene of violent confrontations and guerrilla warfare.

The Houthis had earlier shelled some of the neighbourhoods of the city with artillery, killing 10 civilians and injuring several others.

Ad Dali is important in that it is considered an entry point into Yemen's southern provinces.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein on Tuesday expressed alarm about the fast deteriorating human rights situation. 

The High Commissioner called on all sides to protect civilians from harm, and to resolve their differences through dialogue rather than through the use of military force. 

“The situation in Yemen is extremely alarming, with dozens of civilians killed over the past four days. The country seems to be on the verge of total collapse,” Hussein said. 

“I am shocked by Monday’s airstrike against the al-Mazraq camp for internally displaced people in Harad, in the north of Yemen,” Zeid said. There are different accounts as to how many people were killed in the airstrike, but UN human rights staff in Yemen have verified at least 19 fatalities, with at least 35 others injured including 11 children. This camp, home to some 4,000 people, was established by the UN in 2009 and recently received at least 300 new families displaced from Sada. 

Tribesmen flush Houthis out of district in Ibb

Meanwhile, hundreds of armed tribesmen attacked sites held by the Houthi militants in a district in the central province of Ibb and flushed them out, a local government source told AA on Tuesday.

"Around 300 armed tribesmen attacked seven Houthi checkpoints in Al-Qafr directorate in Ibb and kicked them out of the region," the source, requesting anonymity, said.

The tribesmen captured six Houthi militants during the attack, he added.

Fractious Yemen has remained in turmoil since last September, when the Houthis overran capital Sanaa, from which they have sought to extend their influence to other parts of the country.

Hadi accuses Iran of supporting Yemen's Houthi militia.

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