Heaviest raids yet rock Yemen capital: Residents

AFP , Wednesday 20 May 2015

Smoke billows from Noqum Mountain after it was hit by an air strike in Yemen's capital Sanaa May 19, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Saudi-led coalition jets pounded the rebel-held Yemeni capital in what witnesses described Wednesday as the most violent bombing of the campaign so far, prompting residents to flee.

Loud explosions rocked Sanaa until the early hours as warplanes struck rebel-held arms depots for a second straight night, residents said.

"Sanaa witnessed during the night the most violent raids since the start of the bombing" by coalition warplanes across Yemen on March 26, said Saleh Moqbel, a resident of the capital's Old City.

The raids come after a five-day humanitarian truce expired late on Sunday.

The strikes since Tuesday have targeted arms depots in hills overlooking the capital as well as the rebel-held presidential complex, with explosions lighting up the skies, residents said.

The bombings prompted many families to flee residential areas surrounding the hills to seek refuge elsewhere in the capital, witnesses said.

"Some of these families were hosted by relatives, while others were forced to rent shelters, including garages, to spend the night," said Hasan al-Amudi, who lives in central Sanaa.

Explosions at an arms depot in Mount Noqum hit by the coalition earlier this month killed at least 69 people and wounded 250, mostly civilians living in surrounding areas, according to a health official.

The United Nations says more than half a million people have been displaced in the conflict, which has left around 1,850 people dead since March.

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