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Yemen being pounded by US, British, Israeli jets: Army

Sharaf Luqman, a Yemeni army spokesman

Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom have been contributing to Saudi Arabia’s deadly war on Yemen by sending warplanes to bomb the impoverished nation, a Yemeni army official reveals.

Sharaf Luqman, a spokesman for the Yemeni army, said on Thursday that fighter jets belonging to the US, Britain and Israel have been directly bombing Yemen as Saudi pilots are unable to conduct sorties with modern warplanes over Yemen.

The army official said that Yemeni army and fighters of the Houthi Ansarullah movement have so far managed to down three F-16 fighter jets,10 Apache helicopters and dozens of drones.

Luqman said about 400 military personnel from the European and Latin American countries, mainly from Colombia, have been recruited to fight for the Saudis in Yemen.

Reports emerged in late December 2015 that six Colombian troops and an Australian commander had been killed in clashes with Yemen’s Houthi fighters and allied forces in the southwestern part of the country.

According to Yemeni sources, the Colombians have been dispatched to Yemen under an agreement between the United Arab Emirates, a major ally of the Saudis in the Yemen war, and a US-based security services company formerly called Blackwater.

The New York Times reported on November 25 that the UAE has “secretly” deployed 450 Latin American troops, most of them from Colombia but among them Panamanian, Salvadoran and Chilean soldiers, to fight in the war on Yemen.

Washington has also been helping the Saudis in their bombardment of Yemen by providing logistics and intelligence to the Saudi air force.

A Yemeni man inspects the damage at a sports hall that was partially destroyed by Saudi air strikes in the Yemeni capital Sana'a on January 19, 2016. (AFP Photo)

Saudi Arabia has been carrying out a relentless air campaign against Yemen over the past 10 months, killing more than 8,300 people and displacing hundreds of thousands, according to coalition of rights groups.

The illegal air strikes, which started on March 26, have been meant to undermine Houthis and allies and restore power to fugitive president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh.

Yemeni sources said on Thursday that at least 34 Yemeni people had lost their lives in fresh wave of Saudi air raids across the country. Five workers were killed when Saudi warplanes targeted oil storage facilities in the Red Sea port of R’as Isa, on western coast of Yemen, with reports suggesting that the casualties may rise due to critical conditions of those injured in the attacks.

Airstrikes claimed the lives of 14 members of one family in the Marran district of Sa’ada Province. Fifteen people, mostly medical workers, were also killed in air raids in the town of Dahyan as they were rushing to help Marran casualties.

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