Civilians pay heavy price in battle for \'gateway to Sanaa\'
SANAA - Dozens of people, mostly civilians, have been killed in fighting and air strikes by a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen's third city Taez, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Saturday.
Yemen spokeswoman Rima Kamal said the Friday violence between Iran-backed rebels and pro-government forces had killed 80 people by late evening, adding that it was unknown if people in the city were "dead or alive under the rubble".
"My colleague was told that by noon yesterday, there were 50 killed; in the evening it went up to 80. These are figures we are receiving from various sides," she said.
The Doctors Without Borders aid group said Friday that 65 civilians had been killed and several wounded in coalition bombing runs in Taez's Salah neighbourhood.
The rebel-controlled Saba news agency said the raids had killed 63 civilians and wounded 50.
Backed by Saudi-led air strikes and support from a mainly Arab military coalition, loyalists in Yemen have made sweeping recent advances in the south against rebel fighters.
They retook second city Aden last month, and have taken four additional southern provinces in their advance towards Taez, which is viewed as the gateway to the rebel-held capital Sanaa.