Airstrikes hit MSF medical facility in north Yemen

Friday 23/10/2015
Conflict in Yemen has caused an estimated 2,615 civilian death

ADEN (Yemen) - Air strikes have hit a medical facility run by Doctors Without Borders in north Yemen, MSF said Tuesday, as rebel shelling killed 11 civilians in the south of the country.

The facility operated by the MSF charity in Saada "was hit by several air strikes last night with patients & staff inside the facility," the organisation said on Twitter.

MSF spokeswoman Malak Shaher said that there were "no casualties" in Monday night's raids.

A Saudi-led coalition of Arab states launched an air campaign against Shiite Huthi rebels and their allies in late March in support of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

Saada is the stronghold of the Iran-backed Huthis who overran the capital unopposed in September 2014 before advancing on several Yemeni provinces.

Air raids have been blamed for scores of civilians casualties since March.

In Afghanistan, at least 30 people were killed earlier this month in a US bombing of an MSF hospital in Kunduz.

In southwestern Yemen, at least 11 civilians were killed in artillery shelling by the Huthi rebels and their allies on residential parts of Taez -- a city seen as key to controlling Sanaa.

"Eleven civilians were killed and eight were wounded in shelling on Taez during the past 48 hours," a health official said.

Hashem al-Sufi, a commander of pro-government forces in Taez, accused Huthi rebels and militia supporters of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh of carrying out the shelling.

He added that 28 rebels were also killed in 24 hours of clashes and coalition air strikes in Taez. Seven pro-government fighters also in the battles, he said.

Reporters could not independently verify this toll as the rebels rarely acknowledge their losses.

Loyalists control the centre of Taez, encircled by the Huthi rebels and allied forces loyal to Saleh.

The city, neighbouring Sanaa, has been a key battleground as forces loyal to Hadi seek to regain ground from the rebels.

In July, loyalists backed by the Saudi-led coalition evicted the rebels from five southern provinces and have set their sights on Sanaa.

Around 5,000 people have been killed in the conflict since March, more than half of them civilians, according to UN estimates.

Based on information gathered by the UN Human Rights Office, "the conflict in Yemen has caused an estimated 2,615 civilian death" since the Saudi-led coalition was launched on March 26. "Another 5,193 civilians have been injured."

The UN Human Rights Office says that "of these, 814 civilians were allegedly killed as a result of attacks by the Huthis and their allies, while 1,641 civilians were reportedly killed due to air strikes."