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40 civilians killed as Saudi-led coalition fights UAE-backed ex-allies in Yemeni port – UN

Published: August 11, 2019
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Source: RT

Scores of civilians have been killed or injured in the Yemeni port of Aden over the past few days, the UN has reported. The surge of violence came as the Saudi-led coalition fights for control against its UAE-backed former allies.

As many as 40 civilians have been killed and 260 others injured in Aden, a large port in southern Yemen, since last Thursday, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator reported on Sunday citing preliminary reports. Lise Grande said it was “heart-breaking that during Eid al-Adha, families are mourning the deaths of their loved ones instead of celebrating together in peace and harmony,” referring to the holy day celebrated by Muslims all over the world.

The UN statement came as the Saudi-led coalition reported on Sunday striking the forces loyal to the Southern Transitional Council (STC), which seized the presidential palace in Aden’s Crater district earlier this week.

The STC and the Saudi-led coalition share an enemy in the Houthi rebels in northern Yemen, but have opposing agendas for the future of the country. The coalition seeks to put exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi back in power while the STC wants the southern part of Yemen to be an independent nation, the way it was before the 1990 unification that followed decades of hostilities.

The United Arab Emirates are part of the coalition forces, but also back the STC, having armed and trained thousands of fighters loyal to the separatist movement. The government of Hadi, which is based in Riyadh, branded the STC take-over in Aden a UAE-sponsored coup and called on the Emirati leadership to withdraw their support of the group.

The clashes between the STC and the coalition started on Wednesday after the separatists accused an Islamist party allied with the Hadi government of being behind a missile attack on their forces. The falling-out among anti-Houthi forces adds to the already complex and devastating multilateral conflict, which has resulted in the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

Yemen, which was the poorest Arab nation even before Hadi’s ouster and Saudi military intervention in 2015, is in dire shortage of basic supplies. Nearly 80 percent of its 28 milion population are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance, with destruction of civilian infrastructure by coalition bombings and air and naval blockades imposed by it being major factors in the civilian suffering.

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Islamist militant group al Qaeda attacked a military camp in southern Yemen on Friday, killing at least 19 soldiers, security sources said, Reuters reports. The attack is the second in as many days on a camp for the Yemeni Security Belt forces backed by the United Arab Emirates, a member of the Western-backed Arab coalition battling Houthi rebels who control swathes of the country.

A UAE-backed commander was amongst those killed when an explosion struck a military parade in Yemen’s southern city of Aden today. Scores were injured and killed in the blast which rocked the seat of Yemen’s Saudi-backed internationally recognised government.

Yemen's capital, Sanaa, has been rocked by powerful explosions following air raids by a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which is fighting the country's Houthi rebels. Also on Saturday, the Houthis claimed to have carried out drone attacks on military targets in the King Khalid air base in southwestern Saudi Arabia.

A Saudi-led military coalition said it has intercepted and destroyed drones launched by Yemen's Houthi group at targets in the kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported. "The drones were destroyed in air space," a coalition statement said on Saturday.

Since 2015, Yemen’s Customs and Consumer Protection has had to either send back or seize over 24,000 tons of aid determined unfit for consumption sent from the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). Among the “aid” included 15,000 tons of supplementary food for pregnant women and medicine.

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