Middle East

Yemen conflict: Saudi-led strike 'hits wrong troops'

Saudi-led air strike hits site in Yemeni capital, Sanaa. 21 April 2015 Image copyright AP
Image caption Saudi-led operations have targeted Houthi positions like this one near Sanaa

The Saudi-led air coalition targeting Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen has mistakenly hit a pro-government position, killing at least 20 troops, security officials and witnesses say.

At least another 20 people are thought to have been injured.

The strike occurred between the southern Taiz and Lahj provinces, which have seen fierce clashes recently.

"They thought the Houthis were still there," a pro-government security official told The Associated Press.

The Saudi-led coalition is backing forces in Yemen loyal to the exiled President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Yemen Crisis

Four months of fighting between Houthi rebels and government forces, and Saudi-led coalition air strikes, have left the impoverished country in chaos

  • 80% of the population need aid

  • 13m people face food shortages

  • 1.4m forced from their homes

  • 2,000 civilians killed

Pro-Hadi forces retook Lahj and four other provinces in mid-July as part of a southern offensive.

But fighting has raged for months in Taiz, which the rebels have held since last year and is seen as a gateway to the capital Sanaa.

A separate coalition air strike on Saturday killed 13 Houthi rebels in the desert province of Jawf, AP reported, and three pro-government fighters were killed in rebel rocket shelling in Marib province east of Sanaa.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Coalition air strikes have badly damaged parts of the capital, Sanaa

Hundreds of Sudanese troops reportedly arrived in the southern port city of Aden on Saturday, the first batch of an expected 10,000 reinforcements for the Saudi-led coalition.

Their mission is to secure Aden, which has seen a surge of assassinations of pro-government military leaders in recent weeks.

On Friday, gunmen on a motorcycle killed a Saudi officer in a drive-by shooting.

Around 4,500 civilians have been killed in the conflict since March, according to the UN.

As well as those killed, nearly 1.5 million people have been displaced by the conflict. The UN estimates that 13 million people face food shortages and 80% of the population need some form of aid.

Why is there fighting in Yemen?

  • Northern Shia Muslim rebels known as Houthis, backed by forces loyal to Yemen's ex-president, took over parts of Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa, and forced the government into exile in March
  • The rebels accused the government of corruption and of planning to marginalise their heartland within a proposed federal system
  • Forces loyal to the government and southern militias regained control of Aden in July, aided by Saudi-led coalition air strikes and troops

The war the world forgot?

Yemen's humanitarian catastrophe

Who is fighting whom?

Meeting the Houthis and their enemies

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