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MISSILE DEFENSE
Saudi shoots down missile from Yemen: coalition
by Staff Writers
Riyadh (AFP) Sept 12, 2016


Air strikes kill 22 civilians near Yemen capital: witnesses
Sanaa (AFP) Sept 11, 2016 - At least 22 civilians have been killed in air strikes by a Saudi-led military coalition near Yemen's rebel-held capital Sanaa, witnesses and residents said on Sunday.

The first strike hit a site where locals were digging an aquifer in Beit Saadan, a village of the Arhab region north of the capital, on Saturday afternoon killing and wounding several people, they said.

As residents rushed to help victims, a second air strike was carried out causing more casualties and material damage, they added.

In all 22 people were killed and seven wounded, several sources in the village said, adding however that the toll could rise because some bodies had been blown to pieces and could not be identified.

Asked about strikes, coalition spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Assiri told AFP: "All our operations in the area were targeting Huthi (Shiite rebel) positions and members."

The rebels meanwhile said on their sabanews.net website that the coalition had carried out 22 air strikes against the aquifer that killed and wounded "more than 100" people.

Six other civilians were killed on Saturday in a coalition air strike on a house in Haidan, a town in Hajja province, northwest of Sanaa, the rebels said.

Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to prop up the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi after the Huthi rebels took over Sanaa.

Since then the conflict has left more than 6,600 people dead, most of them civilians, and displaced at least three million others, according to the United Nations.

Fighting has intensified since the collapse of UN-backed peace talks in Kuwait on August 6.

Later that month, the United Nations called for the creation of an independent commission to investigate alleged human rights violations in Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition battling rebels in Yemen said Monday it shot down a missile fired by the insurgents towards an airbase in southern Saudi Arabia.

The missile was the latest aimed at the kingdom since the coalition began air raids to support Yemen's internationally-backed government in March last year.

Khamis Mushait air base, in Saudi Arabia's southwest, has been at the forefront of the coalition bombing campaign against Huthi rebels and their allies.

Saudi Arabia has deployed Patriot missile batteries to counter tactical ballistic missiles fired occasionally from Yemen during the war.

The latest missile attack came after witnesses and residents on Sunday said coalition air strikes killed at least 22 civilians near Yemen's rebel-held capital Sanaa.

But coalition spokesman General Ahmed Assiri said: "All our operations in the area were targeting Huthi positions and members."

Fighting in Yemen has intensified since the collapse of UN-backed peace talks in Kuwait on August 6.

Rebels have also fired harder-to-detect Katyusha rockets, particularly into the Saudi border city of Najran.

More than 100 civilians and soldiers have died in strikes and skirmishes along the frontier.

In Yemen the fighting since March last year has killed more than 6,600 people, most of them civilians, and displaced at least three million others, according to the United Nations.


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