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  • Boys hold missile shrapnel they collected from the site of a Saudi-led air strike in the Houthi-held capital Sanaa, Yemen Jan. 20, 2019.

    Boys hold missile shrapnel they collected from the site of a Saudi-led air strike in the Houthi-held capital Sanaa, Yemen Jan. 20, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 January 2019

The Saudi-led coalition bombed Yemen's capital city Sanaa killing two amidst a fragile U.N.-brokered peace deal. 

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia-led forces launched overnight air strikes on Yemen’s capital which was described by one resident as the worst in a year. The strike came as the United Nations struggles to implement a peace deal.

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A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition said its warplanes attacked seven military facilities used for drone operations in Sanaa, which is held by rival Houthi forces.

Yemen’s nearly four-year-old civil war, which pits the Houthi movement against the Saudi-backed government of Abd-Rabu Mansour Hadi, has killed more than 50,000 and left millions on the brink of starvation.

Houthi-run al-Masirah TV said Sunday that the coalition had conducted 24 air strikes on Sanaa since Saturday evening, including four on the air base. It said a plastics factory was also hit, causing a large fire.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said the overnight targets included al-Dulaimi Air Base, a drone storage site, and military training sites.

Medical workers and residents told Reuters at least two civilians were killed, and others injured, and that the raids also damaged homes.

“The raids were very violent, the likes of which we have not seen for a year,” Sanaa resident Arwa Abdul Karim told Reuters. “The house shook so much we thought it would fall on our heads.”

The escalation in fighting threatens the second round of U.N.-sponsored talks this month aimed at ending the war.

Hadi was ousted from power in 2014, and the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates intervened in 2015 to try to reinstate him, starting a deadly war.

Rights groups have criticized the coalition for air strikes that have killed thousands of civilians at hospitals, schools, and markets since 2015.

Western nations, including some which supply the coalition with arms and intelligence, have pressed Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to end the conflict that has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.

The United Nations is trying to implement a ceasefire and troop withdrawal agreement in the port city of Hodeidah, the main entry point for most of Yemen’s imports and aid.

In the first significant breakthrough in peace efforts, a deal was reached in talks in Sweden last month to avert a full-scale assault on the port.

The truce has been largely restricted toHodeidah, which is controlled by the Houthis with thousands of coalition-backed forces massed on the outskirts. But the withdrawal of forces by both sides has stalled over disagreements over who would control the Red Sea city.

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