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Death toll from Saudi-led air raid on Yemen’s Lahij soars to 11

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 children walk on stones in front of buildings that were damaged by Saudi airstrikes in the UNESCO-listed old city of Yemeni capital, Sana’a, on March 23, 2016. (© AFP)

The death toll from a Saudi-led airstrike against a residential area in Yemen’s southern province of Lahij has risen to 11, with four children among the civilian casualties.

Local security officials and witnesses, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 11 civilians died in the town of al-Mahala on Wednesday, when a warplane, believed to belong to the United Arab Emirates, fired two missiles at the house, flattening the building.

The officials identified the victims as members of the same family. Only one child survived the aerial assault.

Ahmed Hadash, a witness, recalled hearing explosions for 40 minutes during the raids, while fighter jets flew overhead.

“The bodies were distorted and the human remains were everywhere,” he added.

Separately, Saudi-led warplanes struck a mineral water factory in the same Yemeni province on Wednesday, though there were no reports of casualties.

Late on Wednesday, Saudi warplanes launched another airstrike against Nihm district in the northern province of Sana’a, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

A Yemeni woman reacts outside her hut at a camp for internally displaced people near Sana’a, Yemen, on May 24, 2016. ©Reuters

Moreover, Saudi-sponsored militiamen loyal to former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi lobbed a barrage of artillery rounds and mortar shells at al-Ghayl and al-Maton districts of Yemen’s northern province of al-Jawf.

Saudi Arabia launched its military aggression against Yemen on March 26, 2015, in a bid to bring Hadi —a staunch ally of Riyadh who resigned from the presidency — back to power and undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

More than 9,400 people have been killed and at least 16,000 others injured since the onset of the aggression.

The Saudi strikes have also taken a heavy toll on the country’s facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.

Last week, UN-brokered peace talks between delegates from the Ansarullah movement and the Saudi-backed former Yemeni government were suspended after the latter declared its withdrawal from the negotiations.

The development came as UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Sheikh Ahmed had said he was optimistic about achieving a settlement for the conflict in Yemen.

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