Sana’a: A wave of air raids rattled Yemen’s crisis-hit capital Monday, witnesses said, as clashes between rebels and supporters of ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh also spread beyond Sana’a.
The strikes appeared to hit targets near Sana’a International Airport and the interior ministry, both under the control of the Iran-backed Al Houthi rebels, according to residents and a source inside the airport.
A spokesman for the coalition did not respond to requests for confirmation of the raids on Monday.
An airport source said Al Houthi bases near the location appeared to have been targeted but the airport itself had not been bombed.
Residents also reported that the fighting, which erupted Wednesday night between armed Saleh supporters and Al Houthi militants, had spread outside the capital.
Tribal sources in Saleh’s hometown Sanhan, south of Sana’a, on Monday reported intense overnight fighting between the Al Houthis and Saleh loyalists.
The clashes in the capital had killed some 60 people as of Sunday. There was no immediate information available on fresh casualties.
Yemeni territory is split between the forces and government of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi in the south, backed by Saudi Arabia and recognised by the international community, the northern Al Houthi rebels and forces loyal to strongman Saleh.
Since 2014, Sana’a has been ruled under an agreement between Saleh and Al Houthis, who drove the Hadi government out of the capital, set up their own government and for two years together fought the Saudi-led coalition.
Saleh on Saturday announced he was open to talks with Saudi Arabia and its allies on condition they ended their blockade on Yemen’s ports and airports - dealing a serious blow to his already fragile alliance with rebel chief Abdul Malik Al Houthi.
The Saleh-Al Houthi split has sparked fears of a new front in the Yemen war, which has already claimed more than 8,750 lives since the Saudi-led coalition joined the war to support the Hadi government.
The conflict has pushed Yemen to the brink of mass starvation and triggered what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.