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More than 100 believed killed in Yemen air strike

More than 100 believed killed in Yemen air strike”

Air strikes by a Saudi-led military coalition in southwest Yemen have hit a prison complex, killing scores of people, Yemen's Houthi movement and a Red Cross official said on Sunday. The officials said the airstrikes took place Sunday and targeted a college in the city of Dhamar, which the Houthi rebels use as a detention center.

The coalition launches air strikes nearly every day, while the Houthis often fire missiles into Saudi Arabia.

The coalition faces widespread global criticism for airstrikes that have killed civilians and Sunday's attack was bound to trigger reactions by human rights groups.

Demonstrators march during a protest in the southwestern Yemeni city of Taez. "They were targeting the jail, I really don't know the strike numbers", wounded detainee Nazem Saleh said while on a stretcher in a local hospital.

The ICRC, which inspects detention centers as part of its global mission, said it had visited the site in the past.

It said secondary explosions indicated the building was used to store weapons and that the Huthis were masking its identity by "claiming it was a secret prison".

The Saudi-led coalition said in a statement carried by the state-run Al-Ekhbariya news channel that it targeted a rebel "military position in Dhamar that stores drones and missiles".

The strike occurred as Sweden's foreign minister was holding talks in Jordan on Sunday, part of her attempt to relaunch talks between Hadi's government and the Iran-backed Houthis and break the war's long stalemate.

Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when the Iran-aligned Houthi group overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The United Nations has sought to ease tensions between the groups and prepare for peace negotiations in a war which has killed tens of thousands and pushed the country to the brink of starvation. Another 50 were wounded. It said they have been pulling bodies from the site.

The Saudi-led alliance has responded with strikes on Houthi targets.

"We took all precautionary measures to protect civilians", it added.

Mohammed Abdul-Salam, spokesman for the Houthis, posted on his telegram account graphic photos that showed bodies under the rubble.

"The crime of the aggressors against prisoners is additional proof that they are ready to violate all Yemenis, even those loyal to them", the Houthi-run Al Masirah TV quoted the group's leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi as saying.

"We estimate over 100 people were killed", said Franz Rauchenstein, head of delegation for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Yemen.

"There are three buildings hit and the building where the detainees were located, a lot of them or the majority has been killed", Mr Rauchenstein said.

Local residents, however, said family members arrested for being critical of the Houthis were imprisoned in the detention center. They said at least seven airstrikes hit the area.

The coalition has been blacklisted by the United Nations for the killing of children, while Saudi Arabia and its allies accuse the Huthis of using civilians as human shields in densely populated areas.

The Associated Press documented that many of these sites were rife with torture and abuses including Dhamar's community college.

Yemen war: Who is the Southern Transitional Council?



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