Saudi-Led Coalition Strikes Back After Houthis Kill Scores in Missile Attack

Yemeni civilians and security forces search for victims at the site of buildings destroyed by Saudi Arabian air strikes against Houthi rebels near Sanaa Airport on March 26, 2015 in Sanaa, Yemen. On Sept. 6, 2015, the Saudi-led coalition conducted a series of retaliatory airstrikes in Sanaa after a Houthi rocket attack Friday killed scores of foreign coalition personnel, including 46 troops from the United Arab Emirates, 10 soldiers from Saudi Arabia and five Bahrainis. Photo by Mohammad Abdullah/UPI | License Photo

SANAA, Yemen, Sept. 6 (UPI) — The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen on Sunday conducted airstrikes against Houthi positions in Sanaa after the rebels killed scores of Emirati and Saudi troops in a rocket attack.

At least 46 troops from the United Arab Emirates, 10 soldiers from Saudi Arabia, five Bahrainis and four Yemenis were killed when the Houthis struck an arms depot near the Saudi border with a rocket on Friday. Coalition forces were reported to have been massing there for an attack on the capital.

The coalition conducted retaliatory airstrikes in Sanaa Saturday night into Sunday, targeting positions manned by the Houthis and troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. The number of casualties was unclear, but hospital officials told Arab News at least 27 members of two families perished in the strikes.

The incident Friday represented the largest single loss of life among the Saudi-led coalition since it committed military force against the Houthis in March. The coalition formed with a goal of slowing the rebel advance southward and restoring Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who had been forced into exile in Saudi Arabia.

Following a series of victories, the Houthis lost the southern port of Aden in July, when the UAE deployed troops and armored vehicles to bolster Saudi special forces and Yemeni fighters in the country. Pro-Hadi forces, with help from the coalition,continued taking ground north of Aden in August.

The UAE began three days of national mourning on Saturday, with flags flying half-mast, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the Emirati armed forces, offered condolences to the families of the fallen troops, who were part of the 107th Brigade, based in the Marib province of central Yemen.

“The UAE takes pride in its martyrs,” The National quoted presidential representative Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed as saying. “Their sacrifice towards freeing our Yemeni brothers from the militias who have wreaked havoc in their country is a noble cause that leaves Emiratis and Arabs alike proud.”

Sunday’s airstrikes come one week after coalition bombing in northwestern Yemen’s Hijjah province is reported to have killed 36 people, mostly civilians.

At least 4,500 people have been killed in Yemen since March, according to the United Nations.


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