SANAA: Dozens of civilians were reported dead Wednesday after a dairy plant was bombed in Yemen, as aid groups warned of a brewing humanitarian crisis from Saudi-led strikes on Shiite rebels.
Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin called for the coalition to send ground troops, saying that “at some stage air strikes will be ineffective”.
Rights groups have voiced growing alarm about civilian casualties from the nearly week-old air war aimed at preventing the fall of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.
At least 37 workers were killed and 80 wounded overnight at the dairy in the port city of Hodeida, provincial governor Hasan al-Hai said, without specifying whether the factory was hit by an air strike or rebel shelling.
The head of the provincial health authorities, Abdulrahman Jarallah, gave a toll of 35 people killed and dozens wounded.
Part of the factory was destroyed and rescue teams were looking for survivors under the rubble, according to a medic at a Hodeida hospital that received the casualties.
The circumstances of the bombing were unclear, with some witnesses saying the dairy was hit by a coalition air strike and others blaming rebel forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The Saudi-led coalition bombarded rebel positions early Wednesday in Yemen’s main southern city Aden in a seventh night of raids that also targeted the capital and other areas.
The Aden strikes were focused on the rebel-held provincial administration complex in Dar Saad in the city’s north, according to a military official.
He said there were “many dead and wounded” among the Huthi Shiite rebels but was unable to give a precise toll.