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HOUTHI fighters claimed to have killed at least 20 Saudi Arabian soldiers today as protests marked the start of the fifth year of the Gulf kingdom’s devastating war on Yemen.
Brigadier General Yahya Saree announced lastnight that the Yemeni armed forces and popular committees struck two military bases in the Saudi border town of Jizan in a retaliatory attack.
The assault followed raids on two Houthi camps near the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Saturday, which included the al-Dailami air base. A Saudi drone attack later targeted two Houthi storage caves.
Fighting has intensified after a fragile UN-negotiated ceasefire over the key port of Hodeida collapsed last month.
Mr Saree said yesterday’s response was carried out after extensive intelligence gathering, killing at least 20 Saudi soldiers and destroying at least five armoured vehicles.
Thousands took part in protests outside the UN headquarters in Sanaa demanding an end to Saudi Arabia’s deadly war which has killed at least 56,000 Yemenis, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED).
Save the Children warned at least 2,500 Yemeni children have died since the Saudi bombing campaign began in March 2015 — a rate of over 30 children per month.
Riyadh has been accused of war crimes with its bombing raids targeting Yemeni infrastructure, including roads, schools and hospitals.
International criticism followed an air strike which killed 40 children returning from a school picnic in August 2018.
The Saudi coalition described the coach as “a legitimate target” which was destroyed by a US-supplied bomb made by war profiteers Lockheed Martin.
Speaking at the protest Yemeni rights activist Ahmed al-Eiani said Riyadh had “violated all international laws and conventions with every act that targets civilians and their livelihoods.”
“They have prevented the entry of food, supplies and life-saving medicines,” blasted another protester.
With the country on the brink of the worst global famine in 100 years and a cholera epidemic sweeping the country, more than a quarter of the population rely on humanitarian aid.
Rights group Amnesty International warned the international community that swift action was needed to stop the “bloodshed” in Yemen.
“After four years of bloodshed in the Arab world’s poorest country, Yemenis can no longer bear the catastrophic humanitarian impact of the war,” said Amnesty International spokeswoman Samah Hadid.
She called for an end to Western arms sales to the Saudi regime.
“They must put human rights and the lives of millions of Yemeni civilians and their own legal obligations above lucrative arms sales,” she said.
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