Aden and Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Dozens of Yemenis have been killed and injured by rockets fired by Houthi rebels in a residential area in the southern city of Aden, health officials say.
The Houthis fired rockets at a residential area and a market in Aden before dawn on Wednesday, killing at least 31 people and injuring 103, according to AFP.
The Houthi shelling has also caused severe damage to homes and public property in the city.
On Wednesday morning, the Houthis fired 15 Katyusha rockets on Aden’s Mansura district, which is controlled by the the Popular Resistance, a group of volunteer forces loyal to President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. The shelling left dozens killed and injured, mostly women and children.
“Houthis shelled citizens who had gathered to rescue victims [from last night’s shelling], which caused the number of the dead and injured to increase,” a medical source from the city told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“The number of [the dead] could increase as some of the injured are in critical condition,” according to the source.
Aden served as a temporary base for Hadi before he fled to neighboring Saudi Arabia, which in late March launched an aerial campaign, backed by Washington, against the Houthis and forces loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen.
Heavy fighting between pro-Hadi forces and the Houthis and their allies erupted in the northern part of Aden on Wednesday.
“[Anti-Houthi] resistance fighters . . . strengthened their positions and made remarkable progress in northern Aden,” a pro-Hadi source told Asharq Al-Awsat.
He said: “They put up new barricades and hoisted the South Yemen flag on top of one of the buildings overlooking the positions of the Houthi militia in a step aimed at boosting the fighters’ morale and raising their readiness as they prepare for more clashes with the Houthis and the ex-president’s forces in the forthcoming days.”
Aden is home to the Al-Hirak movement, a secessionist group calling for the autonomy of the South from the rest of Yemen.
Militants affiliated with the popular resistance on Wednesday ambushed Houthi fighters in the Karsh district of the southern Lahj province, killing and injuring dozens, a pro-Hadi source said.
Also on Wednesday, Saudi-led airstrikes killed and injured around 12 rebels in Lahj.
Meanwhile, Yemen’s exiled Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin described what happened in Aden as “a massacre of civilians,” calling on the UN to deliver aid and supplies to alleviate the humanitarian suffering of civilians caught up in the conflict.
“We have asked the UN Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed to visit Aden to see the brutal massacres being committed there and to establish a safe passage to allow entry of aid supplies,” Yassin told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The United Nations on Wednesday declared highest-level humanitarian emergency in Yemen, with officials warning that the war-torn country is “one step” away from famine.
Yemen, the Arabian Peninsula’s most impoverished country has faced severe shortages of medicine, food, and water supplies since the country’s crisis began.
Additional reporting contributed by Nasser Al-Haqbani from Riyadh