Deadly airstrikes hit funeral hall in rebel-held Sana’a

Jets, believed to be from the Saudi-led coalition, on Saturday bombarded a funeral hall in Yemen’s rebel-controlled capital Sana’a, witnesses said, amid conflicting reports about the casualties.

A senior official in the rebel-controlled Health Ministry said that the attack killed and injured 450 people.

"This is not a final tally as hospitals in the capital continue to receive more injured and martyrs," Deputy Health Minister Abdel-Salam al-Madani told the rebel-controlled Saba news agency.

The agency carried pictures of charred and bloodied bodies of people allegedly killed in the bombing.

However, Aden al-Ghad, a news website loyal to the Saudi-backed Yemeni government, said 46 people, including Houthi rebel leaders, were killed in the attack.

Around 70 others were injured, the site added, citing unnamed medical sources.

Four strikes hit the hall in southern Sana’a where a mourning ceremony was being held for the late father of pro-rebel Interior Minister Galal al-Rawishan, witnesses in the city said.

Al-Rawishan survived the attack unharmed.

The dead included the governor of Sana’a, Abdel-Qader Helal, and other senior officials from the Houthi rebels, medical officials in Sana’a said.

Hospitals in the city have called on local residents to donate blood for the injured.

There was no comment from the Saudi-led coalition that has been bombing rebel-held areas in Yemen for more than a year.

Sana’a has been under the Iran-allied Houthis since September 2014 amid a power struggle between them and internationally recognized President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi.

The conflict has taken a toll on Yemen’s civilians.

In August, UN rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a report that 2,067 civilians were killed in Yemen between July 2015 and June 2016 - 1,259 of whom died in Saudi-led airstrikes.

Yemen's conflict has intensified since March 2015, when the rebels advanced on the southern city of Aden, prompting Saudi Arabia and fellow Sunni allies to start an air campaign in Yemen against the group.

Saudi Arabia fears that the mostly Shiite rebels will give its regional rival, Shiite Iran, a strategic foothold on the Arabian Peninsula.

Last update: Sat, 08/10/2016 - 19:24
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