Arab coalition warplanes bombed rebel camps in Yemen today in a second straight day of strikes led by Saudi Arabia, which accused Iran of “aggression” across the region.
A months-long rebellion by Shiite fighters has escalated into a regional conflict that threatens to tear apart the impoverished state at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.
Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia has vowed to do “whatever it takes” to prevent the fall of its ally President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, accusing Shiite Iran of backing the Huthi rebels’ power grab.
At least 39 civilians have been killed in the Saudi-led Operation Decisive Storm against the Huthis, officials at the rebel-controlled health ministry in the capital said.
Twelve died when surrounding residential areas were hit in a raid on a military base north of the city, the officials told AFP.
Three dawn strikes Friday hit the presidential compound in south Sanaa which the rebels seized last month, witnesses said.
Warplanes also bombed a Huthi-controlled army brigade in Amran province north of Sanaa, and arms depots in the northern rebel stronghold of Saada, residents said.
Hadi, backed by the West and Gulf Arab states, arrived in Riyadh yesterday with officials saying he was on his way to Egypt to join a two-day Arab League summit at the weekend.
It was the first confirmation of Hadi’s whereabouts since the rebels began advancing this week on the main southern city of Aden, where he had taken refuge since fleeing Sanaa last month.
Saudi Arabia says more than 10 countries, including four other Gulf monarchies, have joined the anti-Huthi coalition.
As explosions rocked Sanaa, those families who have not already fled huddled in fear.
“Whenever a plane flies over our home and is met by anti-aircraft gunfire, my three children run to a corner and start screaming and crying,” said Mohammed al-Jabahi, 32.
“We spent a night of non-stop terror and hysteria.”