Delivering on a promise to quickly avenge their heaviest ever military loss, UAE jets have pounded Houthi positions in Yemen, hitting many civilians, in the “most violent” air raid since the Saudi-led bombardment campaign began six months ago.
The airstrikes in Yemen on Sunday were the heaviest since the Arab coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict to reinstate power of their allied President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi who had been deposed by Houthi rebels.
The heavy air raids by the United Arab Emirates jets on Houthi positions in Yemen coincided with the funeral of the 45 UAE soldiers who were killed in Houthi rocket attack on Friday. The incident, in which 10 Saudis and five Bahrainis servicemen also lost their lives, became the deadliest day for the coalition forces, and UAE’s own military history.
“Our revenge shall not take long,” Emirati media quoted Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed as warning. “We will press ahead until we purge Yemen of the scum.”
On Sunday, the coalition planes pounded Houthi positions at rebel-held military bases in Sanaa’s Nahdain and Fajj Attan hills. A neighboring presidential complex, south of Sanaa, was also outlined as a target in addition to the special forces’ headquarters. Coalition aircraft also reportedly annihilated Houthi positions in the northern neighborhoods of Sufan and Al-Nahda North, according to AFP.
However, according to witnesses, the bombardment of the capital was conducted indiscriminately, hitting a school, restaurants and embassies. The strikes wounded at least 17 people, including students taking final exams, medical officials told AP.
The latest raids in Sanaa were the “most violent” since the beginning of the Arab air campaign on March 26, a local official told AFP. On Saturday alone, at least 27 members of two families were killed by airstrikes on the capital, according to hospital officials cited by Reuters.
But the deadliest strike hit the al-Jouf province north of Sana’a, killing at least 20 people who had bee attending a wake.
Elsewhere in the country the coalition targeted rebel formations in Bayhan, in the southern province of Shabwa, military sources told AFP. In Baida province, at least 27 people were killed including at least three civilians over the last two days in the town of Mukayris, military sources added.
According to United Nations (UN) figures, over 1,900 civilians have died, 7,870 people have been injured and more than 100,000 have been displaced, since the Saudi-led coalition launched its military campaign in March 2015. The UN has categorized the situation in Yemen as a level-three humanitarian emergency, since 21 million people are currently in need of assistance, 13 million of whom require food supplies.