Sanaa | Dozens of prisoners and security personnel were feared dead after Saudi-led airstrikes battered two prisons inside a security headquarters in a western port city, security and medical officials said.
The airstrikes yesterday bombed the al-Zaydiya security headquarters in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida. The building contained two prisons, and many prisoners along with security forces were been killed in the strikes, the officials said.
The city is under control of Yemen’s Shiite Houthi rebels who seized the capital and much of the northern region in 2014. The Houthis’ TV network al-Masirah said that 43 people were killed in the airstrikes but it was not immediately possible to verify that account.
The airstrikes came hours after warplanes rained bombs on houses of civilians in the western city of Taiz, killing at least 18 people, including children, earlier in the day.
The latest airstrikes also come at a time Yemen’s president-in-exile has turned down a UN peace deal aimed at ending the country’s devastating conflict, saying it “rewards” Yemen’s rebels.
The proposed peace deal gives the Houthis who seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and eventually forced President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi out of Yemen a share in the future government. It also reduces some of the president’s powers in exchange for a rebel withdrawal from major cities.
Hadi made his remarks during a visit by the UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, yesterday.
“The Yemeni people have condemned these ideas and the so-called road map out of belief that the deal is a gateway to more suffering and war,” a statement by the presidency quoted Hadi as saying.
“The ideas presented … carry the seeds of war,” he added. “It rewards the coup leaders and punishes the Yemeni people at the same time.”
The statement said Hadi told Ahmed that peace will be attainable only when the rebel “coup” is reversed, based on a UN Security Council resolution that stipulates the rebels must lay down their weapons and withdraw from cities as a precondition to any peace agreement.
A presidency official said Hadi has come under heavy international pressure to accept the deal. He said that ambassadors of the United States, France, China and Russia have held meetings with Hadi and his prime minister in the past 24 hours to press him to accept the deal. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.