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Saudi-led raids on Houthi prison kill at least 60 anti-rebel inmates

Second deadly raid on Saturday killed 17 people 'by mistake,' coalition sources admit as president rejects peace deal
Yemenis recover the body of a man killed when the prison was hit with three bombs (Reuters)

Saudi-led raids on rebel-held security buildings and a prison in the west of Yemen killed at least 60 people on Saturday, officials said on Sunday as the death toll from the attacks rose.

A provincial official said that dozens of bodies were transported to hospitals in the port city of Hudaida, which the Houthi rebels and their allies have held since late 2014.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, did not specify the number of prisoners who died in Saturday's raids.

A Reuters witness at the security complex said the building was destroyed and medics pulled about 17 bodies away, many of them missing limbs. Others remained trapped under the rubble.

One of the strikes directly targeted the building, the witness said, bringing it down over the heads of the prisoners. Two others hit the gate of the complex and nearby administration buildings.

The prison in the city's al-Zaydiyah district was holding 84 inmates when it was struck three times late on Saturday, Hashem al-Azizi, deputy governor of the Houthi rebel-controlled Hudaida province of the same name, told Reuters.

Most of the more than 80 inmates at the facility were opponents of the Houthi rebels, according to a military source close to the group.

The Saudi-led alliance that conducted the raid said it struck a "central security building" used as a military command centre by the Houthi rebels it is fighting.

Previously, medical and military sources had said the number of inmates and rebels killed in the air raids on the buildings in Zaidia, north of Hudaida, was more than 30.

Elsewhere on Saturday, coalition sources say air strikes hit three adjacent residential homes by mistake, killing everyone inside.

The strikes killed 17 people and wounded seven when they hit residential buildings in the battleground town of Salo, southeast of Yemen's third city Taiz, rebel-controlled media said.

The sabanews.net website said four raids had completely destroyed three residential buildings.

The Saudi-led coalition has yet to comment on the report, but an official loyal to Yemen's president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi said its air strikes had hit three adjacent homes by mistake.

"All those in the houses were killed," he told AFP, adding a child and seven women were among the dead.

The deadly strikes came as Yemen's president on Saturday rejected a UN-backed peace proposal, saying it would "open the door to more suffering".

Hadi, who currently lives in Riyadh along with most other high-ranking officials from his government, refused to look at a copy of the draft peace proposal when he met with a mediator in the Saudi capital on Saturday.

The contents of the roadmap, which the envoy had already presented to the rebels on Tuesday, have not been made public.

Informed sources say it called for agreement on naming a new vice president after the rebels withdraw from major cities and hand over heavy weapons to a third party.

Hadi would then transfer power to the vice president, who would appoint a new prime minister to form a government in which the north and south of Yemen would have equal representation.