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Saudi-led airstrikes hit Yemen's capital after UN envoy left
From:Xinhua  |  2018-06-06 05:35

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SANAA, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Saudi-led coalition launched a series of airstrikes on the Yemeni capital on Tuesday evening, hours after UN special envoy Martin Griffiths left the rebel-held Sanaa following three days of talks.

The airstrikes hit the densely populated neighborhood of al-Jiraf, north of Sanaa, and Hadda in the south of the capital, according to Houthi-controlled Saba news agency and residents.

Ambulances could be heard in the streets as the targeted quarters were cordoned off by Houthi-controlled police forces.

There were no official reports yet of casualties among the residents, as officials said a building near a school was hit in Hadda and two other buildings were bombed in al-Jiraf.

But residents in social media reported many casualties among civilians.

Analyst Adel al-Assar of Sanaa-based daily Althawra newspaper said "the airstrikes are a sign of no deal."

Griffiths left Sanaa at noon, telling reporters that his talks with the Houthi officials were "fruitful."

"I have heard from many experts of their grave anxiety about an attack on Hodeidah and the significant and avoidable humanitarian consequences that would ensue. I am also concerned about the impact of such an attack on the political process," Griffiths said.

International humanitarian agencies have warned that an assault on Hodeidah would be a major disaster to the densely populated port city and would block aid supplies to more than 20 million people.

On Monday, Griffiths met Houthi top official Mahdi al-Mashat, president of Houthi Supreme Political Council, to discuss possibilities of returning to the negotiation table with their foe government of exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Al-Mashat told Griffiths that "any papers presented at the negotiation table should provide for ending the foreign presence in Yemen," in reference to the Saudi-led coalition forces backing Hadi's government.

According to Saba, al-Mashat also told Griffiths that "respecting sovereignty and independence of countries should be a starting point for any political process and negotiations in Yemen."

Griffiths reviewed his efforts to bridge gap between the rival Yemeni parties. He told al-Mashat that he would brief the Security Council on his efforts and results on June 19.

Griffiths arrived on Saturday in Sanaa, amid heavy military escalation from both rival forces near the Red Sea port city of Houthi-held Hodeidah, the key target of the coalition.

Death toll has topped 100 people from both Houthi rebels and forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition over the past three days in battles about few kilometres away from Hodeidah.

Hodeidah is the only lifeline route of supplying imports and humanitarian aid to the northern Yemen, which is under control of Iranian-allied Houthi movement.

Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to roll back Shiite rebel gains and to restore President Hadi to Sanaa.

The war has killed over 10,000 people, mostly civilians, and forced 3 million out of their homes.