October 21, 2015 / 8:36 PM / 4 years ago

Rockets fired by Houthis kill 14 civilians in Yemen: medical sources

DUBAI (Reuters) - Fourteen civilians were killed in one of Yemen’s largest cities on Wednesday when shells fired by Houthi fighters and their allies, forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, fell on their neighborhoods, medical sources said.

The sources said the shells also wounded some 70 people in the neighborhoods of Tahrir and Daboua in the city of Taiz, in southwestern Yemen.

The Iran-allied Houthis and Saleh’s forces are battling a Saudi-led coalition which is trying to restore the government of Yemen’s current president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, which is now based in the southern Yemeni port of Aden.

Taiz, one of the largest cities in Yemen, has for weeks been a main battleground between the two sides and the fighting has caused significant casualties and forced thousands to flee.

Houthi officials were not immediately available to comment.

At least 5,400 people have been killed in the fighting in Yemen, the poorest country on the Arabian Peninsula, since March. The United Nations says the humanitarian situation, exacerbated by a Saudi blockade of Yemen’s ports, is “critical”.

Air strikes by the Arab coalition have struck civilian targets on at least four different occasions in recent weeks, including a wedding party in the Red Sea village of Al-Wahijah on Sept. 28 that killed 131 people, drawing strong condemnation from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The Saudi-led coalition has gained ground in southern Yemen, but Houthi forces remain in control of much of the country despite the almost daily air strikes.

Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari, Writing by Katie Paul, editing by Sami Aboudi and Gareth Jones

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