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Saudi airstrikes rock Yemen capital

Published 20/04/2015

Saudi-led airstrikes on weapons caches in Yemen's rebel-held capital have caused massive explosions that shattered windows, sent residents scrambling for shelter and killed a local TV presenter.

A TV station run by the rebels in Sanaa said 15 people were killed and dozens wounded in the bombing.

The explosions were the most powerful seen in the city since a Saudi-led air campaign against Iran-allied Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, began last month.

The blasts deposited a layer of soot on the top floors of residential buildings in Sanaa and left the streets littered with glass. Anti-aircraft fire rattled across the city in response.

Mushroom clouds rose over Fag Atan, in the mountainous outskirts of Sanaa, where the capital's largest weapons caches are located. The site has been targeted several times in the Saudi-led air campaign, now in its fourth week.

A Yemeni official said the Saudi-led warplanes are demolishing parts of the mountain, hoping to uncover and destroy Scud missiles.

Some 4 miles away from Fag Atan, cars were damaged and charred, shop fronts were shattered and the windows were blown out of office buildings.

The Houthis' TV network al-Masirah said that 15 died and that Mohammed Shamsan, a TV presenter for another network, was among those killed. It said members of his crew were wounded.

Residents posted videos and pictures of the explosions, and the damage they had caused, on social media.

Saudi Arabia and several of its allies, mainly Gulf Arab countries, launched the airstrikes on March 26, hoping to roll back the rebels, who seized Sanaa in September and have overrun large parts of the country with the help of security forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Western governments and Sunni Arab countries say the Houthis get arms from Iran. Iran and the rebels deny that, though the Islamic Republic has provided political and humanitarian support to the group.

Rebel leader Abdul-Malek al-Houthi struck a defiant tone on Sunday, saying "the great Yemeni people will never surrender and never be subjugated."

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