Saudi-Led Coalition Intensifies Airstrikes against Yemen after Death of Saleh

The Saudi-led coalition has intensified its airstrikes against the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, and other areas following the killing of the former Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The coalition’s warplanes conducted dozens of airstrikes on positions of the Houthi Ansarullah movement in Sana’a and other northern provinces early Wednesday despite calls for a humanitarian ceasefire in the country, Yemen’s al-Masirah television reported.

The coalition also bombed the presidential palace, Saleh’s residence and houses of his family members.

Local residents said loud explosions were heard in downtown Sana’a.

The airstrikes also targeted other Yemeni provinces, including Ta’izz, Hajjah and Sa’dah.

 The assaults on Hajjah left a woman and a girl dead and injured 10 others in Mabyan District. The Saudi warplanes also fired more than 150 rockets and mortar shells at Razih and Shada’a districts in Sa’dah Province.

Elsewhere in the southwestern province of Ta’izz, four people were wounded following the bombardment of a fuel station in Mukha District.

Yemeni forces, on the other hand, targeted the positions of the Saudi-led mercenaries in Nihm District in Sana’a Province and Maton district in the northern province of Jawf.

Saleh was killed on Monday while attempting to escape Sana’a to Ma’arab Province. This came shortly after he broke ranks with the Houthi Ansarullah movement in favor of the Saudi-led military coalition, which has been pounding Yemen to reinstall its former Riyadh-allied government.

On Tuesday afternoon, tens of thousands of Yemenis staged a demonstration against the Saudi-led war against Yemen, calling for unity among all factions in the country.

The new round of airstrikes came a day after Saleh’s son Ahmed Ali vowed to lead a campaign against the Ansarullah movement.

In a briefing to the Security Council, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has urged all parties to exercise restraint.

According to Yemen’s Interior Ministry, Yemeni forces, backed by fighters from the popular Houthi movement, are in full control of all positions previously held by Saleh’s militias in Sana’a.

'Riyadh sought to use Saleh to save itself'

Omar Nashabi, editor of Al-Akhbar newspaper believes that Saudi Arabia in fact intended to use Saleh’s position to find a way out of the quagmire it is stuck in.

“The Saudis would like to find a way out of this situation. They thought perhaps the way out would be by actually engaging Ali Abdullah Saleh and getting him back in control of the capital Sana’a at least and pushing for a solution in a forced way. They thought they could turn the time and go back to the past where Ali Abdullah Saleh was always a player who used to know how to deal with the situations inside Yemen,” he told Press TV.

As it turned out, the Ansarullah movement succeeded in foiling the Saudi “conspiracy,” he noted, insisting that the need for unity in Yemen is now greater than ever before.

Nashabi warned of “the very tight” situation in Yemen and predicted that there will be further escalation on the part of the so-called Saudi-led coalition in the coming weeks.

He also emphasized that Saudi Arabia’s military aggression should stop as fast as possible, and that more interference in the internal affairs of Yemen will only complicate things further.

There needs to be an immediate ceasefire for the Yemenis to figure out their future, because if the Saudi aggression continues, there will not be a way forward to the negotiating table for a political settlement, he stated.

Also talking to Press TV, a professor at George Washington University, Nabil Mikhail, predicted that the killing of Saleh will “expand the regional scope” of Yemen’s conflict.

Saudi Blockade of Yemen Cuts Fuel Lifeline as Riyadh Tightens Siege

Saudi Arabia has prevented fuel shipments from reaching Yemen's key port of Hudaydah for a month, tightening a blockade on the impoverished country in defiance of international calls to put an end to the siege, a report says.

A Reuters analysis of port and ship tracking data showed that oil tankers have turned away from Hudaydah, without unloading.

The United Nation's body tasked with inspecting ships seeking to enter the area said on Wednesday that the Saudi-led coalition have denied tankers permission to enter the Red Sea port despite its approval, "and repeated attempts by the vessels to proceed."

A spokesperson for the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen (UNVIM) said the coalition has turned away up to 12 tankers in recent weeks, adding, "UNVIM is unable to say when the coalition will allow fuel tankers to enter Yemen’s Red Sea ports' anchorage areas."

Hudaydah records showed that at least six oil tankers were ordered to leave the port before unloading last month.

Captain Mohammed Ishaq, executive chairman of the Yemen Red Sea Ports Corporation, which runs Hudaydah, said on Tuesday that no fuel shipments had reached the port since Saudi Arabia imposed the blockade last month.

On November 6, Saudi Arabia announced that it was shutting down Yemen’s air, sea, and land borders, after Yemeni fighters targeted an international airport near the Saudi capital with a cruise missile in retaliation for Saudi’s devastating aerial bombardment campaign against Yemen.

The United Nations made a plea for the Saudi-led coalition to remove its blockade, warning that without aid shipments “untold thousands of innocent victims, among them many children, will die” and that its partial lifting was not enough.

The lack of fuel means areas hardest hit by Saudi aggression, malnutrition and cholera lack functioning hospital generators and water pumps. It also makes it harder to move food and medical aid across the country.