At least 40 killed in air strikes, fighting in Yemen

  • AFP, Aden
  • Updated: Aug 25, 2015 16:31 IST

At least 40 people were killed in more than 24 hours of Saudi-led coalition air strikes and fighting in Yemen's central Baida province, military sources said on Tuesday.

The fighting and air raids in Mukayris, a town seen as a gateway to southern provinces recently recaptured by pro-government forces, left 19 rebels, 15 loyalists and six civilians dead, the sources said.

Coalition strikes against rebel positions in Baida continued on Tuesday as fighting raged on, the sources added.

Baida is home to mainly-Sunni tribes who have been fighting Shiite Houthi rebels since the militia advanced from its northern stronghold late last year.

Mukayris is on the border between Baida and the southern province of Abyan, which loyalists have recaptured along with Aden, Lahj, Daleh, Shabwa since mid-July.

Other clashes were ongoing and coalition raids struck rebels in the vast oil-rich Marib province, in the east, witnesses said.

On Monday, one local official said that up to 53 Houthis were killed in coalition air strikes on Marib.

But there was no independent confirmation of the report.

The Houthis have seized control of large parts of the country including Sanaa, forcing President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to flee to the southern port city of Aden and then Saudi Arabia.

In March, Saudi Arabia launched a coalition that has been carrying out an air war against them.

The kingdom, as well as the United Arab Emirates, have also backed pro-government forces with arms and troops.

Riyadh accuses Tehran of arming the Houthis, a charge it denies.

The latest fighting had been focused in provinces surrounding Sanaa, including third-city Taez -- seen as key to controlling the capital.

Residents reported that Taez was quiet early on Tuesday following a night of clashes and air strikes.

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