Saudi-led coalition bombards Yemen rebels, drops more arms to loyalists

By Nabil Hassan and Fawaz al-Haidari, AFP

ADEN, Yemen–A Saudi-led coalition pounded rebels in southern Yemen Saturday and dropped more arms to loyalist fighters as the U.N. Security Council prepared to discuss calls for ��humanitarian pauses�� in the air war. Yemen’s main southern city, a last foothold of supporters of absent President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, has been shaken by more than a week of fierce clashes between Shiite rebels and loyalist militia. Coalition war planes and ships bombarded Shiite Huthi rebel positions in Aden. A military source said at least 13 rebel fighters were killed. For a second night, the coalition airdropped weapons and ammunition to supporters of Hadi, who fled to Saudi Arabia late last month as the Huthis approached his refuge. Pro-Hadi fighters were seen unpacking rifles from wooden crates dropped by parachute. ��We thank the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and all the Gulf countries, as well as our brothers in Arab countries, for dropping supplies,�� said Ahmad Qassem al-Shaawi, a local militia chief.

��God willing, we will be victorious and bravely carry on fighting as heroes, and fight off any attack.�� Aided by the strikes and arms drops, the pro-Hadi fighters have managed to drive the rebels back from some parts of central Aden including Hadi’s palace. At least 185 dead and 1,282 wounded from the clashes have been counted in hospitals in Aden since March 26, the city’s health department director Al-Kheder Lassouar said. Three-quarters were civilians, he added.