At least 16 people killed in airstrike in north-western Yemen

At least 16 people were killed in an airstrike allegedly carried out by the Saudi-led alliance in north-western Yemen, a source at the rebel-controlled Health Ministry told dpa Wednesday.

The 16 civilians, including children, were killed when an airstrike hit a civilian house Tuesday in Sahan district in Saada province, the rebel Houthis' main stronghold, according to the source, who declined to be named.

The Saudi-led airstrike destroyed the two storey-building, witnesses said.

Rescue workers resumed pulling the dead from the debris Wednesday, after they had stopped in fear of warplanes flying over the area, witnesses said.

The Saudi-led coalition has not commented on the incident.

Meanwhile, the UN special envoy on Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, warned that the continued fighting - following the breakdown of a cessation of hostilities and stalled peace talks - was giving space for terrorist groups to extend their reach in the region.

"This continuing military escalation will continue to provide opportunities for the spread of terrorist groups - al-Qaeda and the Islamic State [extremist group] continue to wreak havoc in significant parts of Yemen," he told the UN Security Council on Wednesday in New York.

Ould Cheikh Ahmed warned that the recent escalation has resulted in "tragic and unnecessary civilian deaths" and would not "ease the way to a negotiated settlement."

He called for an immediate return to the cessation of hostilities, to allow stalled peace talks to continue.

Last week, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said 2,067 civilians were killed in Yemen between July 2015 and June 2016 - 1,259 of whom died in Saudi-led airstrikes.

Hussein called for an international investigation into civilian deaths in Yemen.

Yemen's conflict has intensified since March 2015, when the Iran-allied 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 rebels will give its regional rival, Shiite Iran, a strategic foothold on the Arabian Peninsula.

Last update: Wed, 31/08/2016 - 23:52

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