Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 February 2019

Child and two others killed in Saudi Arabia by shelling

Houthi rebels in Yemen have intensified cross-border rocket attacks in recent months.

RIYADH // Three civilians including a child were killed by shelling from Yemen in a border region of Saudi Arabia, state media said on Friday..

Several shells from Yemeni territory landed in the Jizan region the night before, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

“This led to the death of three people, including a child, and [the] injury of nine others who were taken to hospital,” said agency spokesman Maj Yahya Abdullah Al Qahtani.

Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have intensified cross-border rocket attacks since late last year. They have also fired ballistic missiles.

About 90 civilians and soldiers have died from shelling and skirmishes in Saudi border regions since March when a Saudi-led coalition began air and ground action in Yemen.

They are supporting local forces against the rebels and their allies, who seized territory from the internationally-recognised government.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation on Friday appealed for immediate access to the Yemeni city of Taez where it said hospitals had been forced to close some services and were overwhelmed with wounded patients. The WHO said its lorries carrying oxygen and medical supplies had not been able to enter Taez, Yemen’s third city, since mid-December.

“We have five lorries waiting to enter Taez but we’re not able to do that despite the fact that we’ve got all the approvals from all the parties,” said the WHO’s Ahmed Shadoul.

More than 250,000 people in Taez have been under “virtual siege” since November, the WHO said. It called on all parties to the conflict to allow the secure movement and delivery of medical and humanitarian supplies, urgently needed in Al Thawra, Al Jumhoori, Al Rawdha and Al Mudhaffar hospitals.

“The situation is deteriorating and the needs are huge,” Mr Shadoul said.

The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday urged the warring parties in Yemen to resume a “meaningful, sustainable” ceasefire after the coalition ended a more than two-week-old truce amid accusations it had been repeatedly breached by both sides.

The ceasefire began on December 15 in tandem with UN-brokered peace talks. On Thursday, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash said Abu Dhabi supported a political solution to the war at a meeting with the UN’s special envoy to the country, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

Dr Gargash also said humanitarian relief operations must be expanded to all governorates of Yemen.

The UN has designated Yemen one of its highest-level humanitarian crises, alongside emergencies in South Sudan, Syria and Iraq.

It says more than 21 million people in Yemen need help, which equates to about 80 per cent of the population, while more than 5,800 people have been killed since March, about half of them civilians.

* Agence France-Presse and Thomson Reuters Foundation

Updated: January 8, 2016 04:00 AM