Coalition strikes 'kill seven Yemeni civilians'

Heavily damaged buildings in Taez (AFP Photo/Ahmad al-Basha) (AFP)

Aden (AFP) - Warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition struck a rebel convoy near a taxi stand in central Yemen, killing seven civilians and nine insurgents, officials said on Sunday.

The air strikes hit three vehicles belonging to the Huthi rebels late Saturday near the Mafraq Sharab junction outside the southwestern city of Taez, a military official said.

Medical sources said hospitals in Taez received the bodies of seven civilians, while military sources said nine rebels were killed and 14 people were wounded.

The raid came during sporadic clashes in the city between the Iran-backed rebels and forces loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi who are supported by a Saudi-led coalition.

The Arab coalition launched a military campaign against the Huthis and their allies in March 2015, after the Shiite rebels closed in on Hadi in his southern refuge in Aden forcing him into exile.

The coalition has stepped up its air raids since three months of peace talks in Kuwait collapsed earlier this month.

More than 6,600 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since March 2015 and more than 80 percent of the population has been left in need of humanitarian aid, according to the UN.