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At least 50 killed in Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen

A further 25 civilians were killed in another border village on Sunday, medical sources said
Saudi jets pummel the capital Sanaa (AFP)

Saudi-led coalition airstrikes pounded Yemen on Sunday, killing more than 50 people on Sunday night. 

In a Yemeni village near the border with Saudi Arabia, airstrikes killed 23 Houthis, according to local residents.

Helicopters and planes from the Saudi-led coalition attacked a building in the village of Zaylaa, in the northwestern Hajja province, believing it to be under the control of Houthi forces, residents told media. 

The strikes follow another attack near the Saudi border on the village of Bani Zela which killed 25 civilians also on Sunday, medical sources said. 

“People were fleeing their homes as the helicopters pursued,” a village resident who called himself Khaled told Reuters.

“They committed a massacre for no reason,” he said.

Saudi sources denied involvement in the attack.

“This is totally false news. We deny it,” said one official, quoted anonymously in the New York Times.

Saudi general killed

A Saudi general was also killed by Houthi shelling that hit the Kingdom’s border province of Jazan, the army said on Sunday.

The general is the second highest-ranking Saudi military official killed over the weekend, after a colonel and a border guard died in a gun battle near the border on Friday.

A coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia has been carrying out airstrikes on Houthi militiamen and forces loyal to ousted former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Saudi Arabia says it wants to reinstate exiled President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who since March has been living in Riyadh after fleeing Houthi advances on the southern city of Aden.

Last week, Hadi returned to Aden for a 48-hour visit hailed as a "victory" by commentators supportive of Saudi Arabia.

"The coalition’s success in returning President Hadi to Aden marks a strategic shift in the course of Operation Decisive Storm," wrote Salman Aldosary, editor-in-chief of Saudi daily al-Sharq al-Awsat. "The Saudi-led coalition has achieved one success after another, without resorting to annoying propaganda or bombastic statements.”

"The real goal of the war in Yemen was, and still is, the security and stability of the Yemeni people, which will be gradually achieved no matter how loud the Houthis scream."

The war in Yemen has caused a massive humanitarian crisis in the desperately poor country, which was already the poorest in the region.

More than 2,100 civilians, including at least 400 children, have been killed in the conflict, while over 1.4 million people have been displaced.

Naval embargoes and fighting around ports have created food shortages in a country that imports 90 percent of its food.

Saudi Arabia has promised to restore what it calls "legitimacy" in Yemen.

However, many Yemenis have blamed the kingdom - and its international backers, including the US - for exacerbating an already precarious situation in the country.

"Saudi bought the world's silence," wrote Sanaa-based analyst Hisham al-Omeisy on Twitter after the attacks over the weekend.

"We're poor, no shame in that, but I promise you, poor & now suffered injustice, Yemen has stronger resolve."