Yemen rebels: Coalition strikes kill dozens, UAE denies it

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Saudi-led coalition airstrikes killed nearly 30 people in Yemen on Thursday, including four women and 22 children, Shiite rebel media reported. But the state media of United Arab Emirates, a key coalition member, disputed the claim and said the rebels launched the attack, killing one child and injuring dozens.

Mohammed Abdul-Salam, spokesman for the Houthi rebels, said on Twitter the coalition attack took place in the ad-Durayhimi district, 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) from the port city Hodeida in the country’s west.

Other Houthi officials provided lower initial figures saying at least nine were killed. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

The UAE’s official news agency WAM, however, reported that the Houthis launched a ballistic missile in the area killing one child and injuring dozens.

Neither side’s claims could be independently verified.

Earlier this month, a Saudi-led coalition airstrike in the country’s north killed dozens of people. Tebel-run Al-Masirah reported at least 51 people, including 40 children, were killed and 79 others, including 56 children, were wounded in the airstrike, citing the Yemeni Health Ministry in the capital Sanaa, which is under rebel control.

The Saudi-led coalition said it would investigate.

Also on Thursday, the Houthis claimed to have hit a Saudi target in the kingdom’s waters but the coalition said the attack was thwarted.

Al Masirah TV reported that the rebels “hit a military target with a suitable weapon.” It quoted an unnamed Houthi official as saying the target was hit “accurately.”

The Saudi state-run al-Ekhbariya TV channel, citing the coalition, reported that an attack by an explosives-laden boat was thwarted and that “necessary measures” were taken to protect the coalition’s commercial vessels.

Houthis attacked Saudi oil shipments last month prompting the kingdom’s state oil company to temporarily halt shipments before resuming them later.

Impoverished Yemen has been embroiled in the war pitting the coalition against the Iran-aligned Houthis since March 2015. Civilians have been enmeshed over the years in the conflict which has killed over 10,000, crippled the country’s health system and pushed it to the brink of famine.