Yemen oil port fire from Saudi-led air strike kills at least nine

CAIRO (Reuters) - An air strike by a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen killed at least nine people on Thursday at an oil facility on the Red Sea operated by its Houthi opponents, oil workers and medics said.

A news agency run by the Saudi-backed Yemeni government,, put the death toll at 16, quoting an unnamed source. It said the cause of the fire was not known.

Medical sources in the nearby port city of Hodeidah said the attack on the facility at Ras Isa, which local oil workers said was used to load tanker trucks with refined products for domestic distribution, also wounded at least 30.

“The bodies were either burned or mutilated,” one source told Reuters by text message.

Pictures showed fire trucks trying to put out flames rising from fuel trucks as black smoke covered the area.

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A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition declined to comment.

The Ras Isa complex is Yemen’s main oil export terminal, which oil workers said was not hit.

No shipments have left there since the coalition of Arab states launched a military campaign in March last year in support of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi against the Iran-allied Houthis.

The United Nations says nearly 6,000 people have been killed in the fighting, which began after the Houthis advanced on the southern port city of Aden, where Hadi had been based. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced.

In eastern Yemen, four government soldiers were killed and four wounded in a bomb attack on their vehicle near al Wadia, a post on the Saudi border, a government official said.

The official said al Qaeda militants were suspected of carrying out the attack.

Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Sami Aboudi; editing by Yara Bayoumy and John Stonestreet