Saudi-led coalition air strike kills at least 19 in Yemen: residents

September 21, 2016 4:20 PM EDT

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SANAA (Reuters) - At least 19 civilians were killed on Wednesday when a Saudi-led coalition air strike hit a house in western Yemen, according to residents, medics and a local official.

Fighter jets of an Arab alliance launched missiles on Wednesday at a presidential palace in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah occupied by leaders of the Iran-allied Houthi militia, a resident told Reuters.

A raid hit a house in a neighborhood populated by workers adjacent to the palace killing 19 civilians and wounding dozens, according to Hashim Azazi, deputy governor of Hodeidah province.

He said rescue workers were still pulling victims out of the rubble.

A Houthi leader, Ali al-Amad, said in a Tweet he had survived a raid on the presidential palace.

"The scene was awful. Body parts were mixed up with the remains of the house and blood filled the place," a resident told Reuters, declining to have his name published out of fear for his safety.

The Saudi-led coalition was formed early last year to fight the Houthis after they took over the capital Sanaa, made gains in other provinces and forced Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's government to flee into exile.

U.N.-sponsored talks to try to end the fighting that has killed more than 10,000 people collapsed in failure last month and the Houthi movement and allied forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh resumed shelling into neighboring Saudi Arabia.

Wednesday's attacks were the latest in a series of strikes that have hit schools, hospitals, markets and private homes.

A coalition spokesperson was not immediately available to comment. Saudi officials say aircraft of the Arab alliance only target military facilities in Yemen.

Nearly half of Yemen's 22 provinces are on the verge of famine, according to the U.N. World Food Programme, as a result of the war that has drawn in regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia.

(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Tom Finn; Editing by Janet Lawrence and James Dalgleish)



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