45 killed in air raid on refugee camp in Yemen

YEMENSANAA: An air strike killed 45 people at a camp for displaced people in northwest Yemen on Monday as Arab warplanes bombard rebels around the country.

According to the International Organisation for Migration, 45 displaced people were killed and 65 wounded at Al Mazrak camp in Hajja province. IOM spokesman Joel Millman told AFP that the organisation had 75 staff assisting the victims.

Earlier, the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said bodies and injured people had been taken to a hospital where it operates near the camp.

“It was an air strike,” MSF’s Middle East programme manager Pablo Marco said.

The camp has since 2009 been housing Yemenis displaced by the conflict between northern Houthi rebels and the government.

Marco said 500 new families had arrived at the camp over the past two days.

A Saudi-led Arab coalition has been pounding rebel positions in Yemen since Thursday.

It has vowed to keep up the raids until the Iran-backed rebels abandon their insurrection against President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who has fled to Riyadh.

Warplanes carried out a fifth night of air strikes around the capital Sanaa, a correspondent reported. Positions held by the Houthi rebels and soldiers of the renegade Republican Guard overlooking the presidential palace were believed to have been attacked.

A Republican Guard camp in south Sanaa was also hit, witnesses said.

In the area around Marib, 140km east of Sanaa, radar facilities and surface-to-air missile batteries were attacked, local officials said.

The Houthis are backed as well by army units loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who stepped down in 2012 after a year of bloody protests in the deeply tribal country, where Al Qaeda is also active.

Officials said the ex-strongman’s son had been sacked as ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, which is part of the coalition.

Ahmed Ali Saleh was relieved of his duties at the demand of the UAE, according to a Gulf diplomatic official. A Hadi aide confirmed the president had dismissed Saleh, who was appointed to the post after his father’s overthrow but is believed to have remained in Yemen.

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