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Saudi-led airstrike kills 25 Yemeni civilians near border

Attack is the latest airstrike to kill large numbers of civilians in a war that has taken the greatest toll on ordinary Yemeni citizens
A campaign of airstrikes and urban warfare has left thousands of civilians dead in Yemen (AFP)

Airstrikes launched by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen have killed 25 civilians, according to medics.

The village of Bani Zela, in north-western Yemen near the border with Saudi Arabia, saw a sustained attack by helicopters on Sunday.

“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.

Medical officials in the village told Reuters that most of the dead were women and children.

Previous attacks causing large-scale civilian deaths, which appear to have been based on faulty intelligence, have included an airstrike on a refugee camp that killed 45 people.

Two months later Houthi fighters fired mortars at a boat carrying internally displaced people fleeing from the southern port city of Aden, killing at least 40 people.

The attack comes a day after a senior Saudi officer and a border guard were killed in a gun battle along the frontier with Yemen.

Colonel Hassan Ghasoum Ageeli and a deputy sergeant died late on Friday in the Jazan district, and four other guards were lightly wounded, the interior ministry said in a statement.

Sunday’s airstrike is the latest in a months-long campaign led by Saudi Arabia that aims to oust the Houthi rebels who took over much of the country last year.

The Houthis, whom Saudi Arabia suspects of having Iranian backing, have been hit hard by the bombing campaign, particularly in their northern stronghold of Saada, but have nonetheless continued to launch cross-border attacks, and claim to have control of territory inside Saudi Arabia.