Airstrike hits market north of Yemen's Aden, over 45 civilians killed

SANAA, July 6

A massive airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition targeting rebels in Yemen hit a local marketplace today, killing more than 45 civilians, security officials and eyewitnesses said.

More than 50 civilians were wounded in the strike in Fayoush, just north of the southern port city of Aden, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to release the information otherwise.

"I came right after the explosion and saw dozens of dead strewn about and a sea of blood," resident Abu-Ali al-Azibi said. "(There was) blood from people mixed with that of the sheep and other livestock at the market."

Other witnesses said vendors' stalls were left burning after the strike in the predominantly agricultural area.

The officials, who said they do not identify with either the rebels, known as Houthis, nor the camp of the exiled president, said Saudi-led airstrikes against the rebels continued across the country, with nine provinces and the capital hit.

The fighting in Yemen pits the Houthis and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against southern separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni Islamic militants and loyalists of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who is now based in Saudi Arabia.

The rebels seized the capital, Sanaa, in September. In March, a Saudi-led and US-backed coalition began launching airstrikes against the rebels and their allies.

More than 3,000 people have been killed in Yemen's conflict since March, including more than 1,400 civilians, according to UN agencies. The conflict has left 20 million Yemenis without access to safe drinking water and uprooted more than one million people from their homes, the United Nations said. Last Wednesday, it declared its highest-level humanitarian emergency in the country, where over 80 percent of the population needs assistance.