Sana’a: War planes from a Saudi-led military alliance bombed targets throughout Yemen’s capital Sana’a on Thursday, in what witnesses described as the fiercest series of attacks on the city in over five months of war.
The raids hit houses of political leaders in the Iran-allied Al Houthi movement and military bases, as explosions and wailing ambulance sirens forced a sleepless night on the city’s nearly 2 million shell-shocked residents.
There were no immediate reports of casualties, a day after medics said the bombing killed six civilians in the city.
Saudi Arabia and other Arab states intervened in Yemen’s civil war on March 26 to halt the nationwide spread of the Al Houthis, who seized Sana’a last year and forced the government into exile in Riyadh after the group advanced on its southern stronghold of Aden.
Al Houthis, who hail from the Zaydi Shiite sect, view their rise as a revolution. But they are fiercely opposed by the Gulf Arab states who believe the group is bent on spreading Iran’s influence.
Since an Al Houthi missile attack killed at least 60 Gulf Arab troops east of Sana’a last Friday, the coalition has stepped up its air strikes on the capital and beefed up its deployment of troops, which Yemeni officials say number a few thousand, ahead of an eventual push towards Sana’a.
Fear is spreading that a decisive battle there may reek widespread destruction, as it has in the war-torn southern city of Taiz, where medics said 18 people were killed in an explosion on a residential area on Thursday variously blamed on Al Houthi artillery shelling and Saudi-led air strikes.
Mohammad Saleh, a Sana’a resident, said he wouldn’t risk being pinned down as the bombing ramps up and soldiers advance.
“I’ve decided my family and I have to get out of Sana’a. There’s nowhere left that’s safe here, and neighbourhoods are getting bombed every single day.”