Air strikes kill 22 civilians near Yemen capital

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.

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 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.

Topics: Yemen , Conflict
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