Yemeni Red Crescent workers and civilians stand at the site of an air raid in the Arhab area on the outskirts of Sanaa, on August 23, 2017Yemeni Red Crescent workers and civilians stand at the site of an air raid in the Arhab area on the outskirts of Sanaa, on August 23, 2017 (AFP Photo/Mohammed HUWAIS)
- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Sanaa (AFP) - More than 30 people, including civilians, were reported killed Wednesday in air raids on the outskirts of Yemen's capital, where a Saudi-led coalition has been bombing Iran-backed Huthi rebels.
The Huthis, who control Sanaa along with forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, blamed the pro-government Arab military alliance for the attack on the capital's northern outskirts.
The rebels used their Al-Massira television channel to release a statement blaming the Saudi-led coalition for the raids. A spokesperson for the coalition could not be reached for comment.
Human rights groups have repeatedly criticised the coalition over the civilian death toll from the bombing campaign it launched in support of Yemen's internationally recognised government in March 2015.
Since then, thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, most of them civilians.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called on the United States, Britain and France to stop their deliveries of bombs and other weapons to Saudi Arabia because of concerns over civilian casualties.
Wednesday's strikes on the Arhab district killed at least 35 people and rescue workers were still pulling bodies from the rubble, said Hussein al-Tawil, head of the Sanaa branch of Yemen's Red Crescent.
An official with an international aid organisation told AFP that at least 30 people had been killed in a series of strikes on the capital.
At least one strike targeted a hotel where workers from a nearby qat farm had been staying, according to witnesses and the hotel manager, Taher al-Ahdal.
Residents said Huthi members had also been staying in the area.
The United Nations' refugee agency, UNHCR, said it was trying to verify details on the raids.
"We are extremely concerned about the civilian deaths reported in the north of Sanaa," spokesperson Shabia Mantoo said.
"The conflict in Yemen has been intensified in 2017... it's exacting a brutal toll on civilians."
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the strike, which Tawil said had also wounded at least 13 people, who were taken to hospitals.
- Tensions -
The Huthis seized the capital in September 2014, backed by pro-Saleh forces, and have controlled it ever since.
But the unlikely alliance, forged in defiance of a common enemy, has begun to unravel, threatening to further splinter a country already ravaged by war.
Tension between Saleh and the Huthis has escalated over the past week, with the two sides exchanging accusations of treason.
The Saudi-led military coalition intervened in 2015 to back up Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, and it now controls the country's airspace.
The United States also regularly conducts drone strikes on Yemen which Washington says target Al-Qaeda.
Northern and southern Yemen have both come under aerial attack in recent months, and the coalition has come under massive pressure from international organisations including the United Nations for its role in the raids.
The UN has said the Saudi coalition was likely responsible for a July attack on the southwestern Taez province that killed 20 people, including children.
An air raid on a funeral reception in Arhab killed eight women and one child in February, prompting the Saudi-led coalition to announce it was "investigating the reports".
The coalition has not however claimed responsibility for the attack.
In June, 24 civilians were killed when an air strike hit a market in northern Yemen that was a centre for trafficking in qat, a leafy stimulant plant that is widely used in Yemen but banned by neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
Sources including hospital officials blamed the June strike on the Saudi-led Arab coalition, which has also not claimed responsibility for the attack.