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Saudi warplanes target Yemeni soldiers defecting to Houthis

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Yemeni soldiers, loyal to the Houthi fighters, are seen at a checkpoint in Sana’a, May 25, 2015. © AFP

Latest airstrikes carried out by Saudi warplanes as well as clashes on the Yemeni-Saudi border have killed several soldiers who had defected to the Houthi Ansarullah forces, a military source says.

The unnamed military source said on Wednesday that the airstrikes, which killed at least 30 troops, hit after "dozens of soldiers defected and announced their support" for the Houthi Ansarullah fighters a day earlier.

The move prompted clashes between the defectors and forces loyal to the fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi. Saudi jets intervened afterward.

The incident occurred at the 23rd Mechanised Brigade, stationed near the Saudi border, and left "at least 30 soldiers killed and dozens wounded" on both sides, the source said.

The air raids and fighting reportedly destroyed or damaged armored vehicles and troop carriers.

Saudi warplanes have been pounding Yemen since March 26. The relentless attacks on the impoverished county are carried out without authorization from the United Nations and regardless of international calls for a halt to the onslaught.

The Saudi aggression was meant to weaken the Houthi Ansarullah movement and restore power to Riyadh’s staunch ally, Hadi.

Yemen conflict death toll

On Tuesday, Rupert Colville, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said 1,528 civilians have been killed, while 3,605 have suffered injuries in the conflict in Yemen since March 27.

A Yemeni man receives treatment as he lays in a bed at a hospital in Sana’a on May 27, 2015. © AFP


The UN human rights office added that at least 92 civilians were killed and 179 others wounded between June 17 and July 3.

The UN humanitarian agency has also warned that "a massive humanitarian crisis" is going on in Yemen.


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