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                Yemen says retaliatory air strikes by Saudi-led coalition killed 31 civilians

                2020-02-17 04:49:58 GMT2020-02-17 12:49:58(Beijing Time) Sina English
                Yemeni children sit on a wheelbarrow loaded with food rations provided by the World Food Programme (WFP) at a food distributing center in Sanaa, Yemen, on Feb. 11, 2020. Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthis seized control of much of the country's north and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of Sanaa. The war has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced 3 million and pushed the country to the brink of famine. (Photo by Mohammed Mohammed/Xinhua)  Yemeni children sit on a wheelbarrow loaded with food rations provided by the World Food Programme (WFP) at a food distributing center in Sanaa, Yemen, on Feb. 11, 2020. Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthis seized control of much of the country's north and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of Sanaa. The war has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced 3 million and pushed the country to the brink of famine. (Photo by Mohammed Mohammed/Xinhua)

                Yemen's Houthi movement accused the Saudi-led coalition of carrying out retaliatory air strikes on Saturday that killed at least 30 people including civilians, in the latest flare-up of a five-year war.

                The United Nations office in Yemen said preliminary field reports indicated that "as many as 31 civilians were killed and 12 others injured in strikes that hit Al-Hayjah area" in Al-Jawf province.

                The health ministry in Houthi-controlled Al-Jawf province said women and children were among those killed, Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV reported. It followed a Houthi claim to have downed a coalition Tornado warplane in the area on Friday.

                But the Saudi-led coalition's spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said only that a Tornado jet had crashed in Al-Jawf, Saudi state news agency (SPA) reported on Saturday. 

                Maliki later said that rescue operations had been launched and that the possibility of "collateral damages" has been reported, without providing more details.

                Maliki said the crew of two officers ejected from the plane before it crashed but the Houthis opened fire at them.

                The office of the UN resident coordinator in Yemen said in a statement that humanitarian partners have deployed rapid response teams for the victims, many of whom were being transferred to hospitals in Al-Jawf governorate and Sanaa for treatment.

                The Saudi-led Sunni Muslim coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognized government from power in the capital Sanaa in 2014.

                (Agencies)

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