Hodeidah, Yemen, 30 Muharram 1438/31 October 2016 (MINA) – Arab coalition fighter jets have hit a prison facility run by Houthi group in western Yemen’s Hodeidah city, killing at least 60 people, including inmates, officials and medics said on Sunday.
“Sixty people in total were killed and dozens were wounded,” a local health official told AFP.
The group-controlled sabanews.net also gave a toll of 60 killed and 38 wounded, adding that “dead bodies are still being retrieved” from under the rubble.
Abdel-Rahman al-Mansab, a security chief of the district of al-Zaydia, said most of the dead were prisoners. They were among a total of 115 inmates serving jail terms for misdemeanor crimes or who were still in pretrial detention.
Al-Mansab also said that the complex has two prisons, one for women and one for men, but there were no female inmates at the time of the attack. “When I went there, I saw a pile up of charred bodies beyond recognition. They were burned to death,” he said, Al Jazeera reported.
The Saudi-led alliance that conducted the raid said it struck a “central security building” used as a military command centre by the Houthi it is fighting. Local officials said the prison lies within a security complex but that only prison guards were present during the air strike.
“This building is used by Houthi militia and the forces of the deposed president as a command and control centre for their military operations,” a statement by the coalition said, referring to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, a Houthi ally.
Abdel-Rahman Jarallah, director of Hodeidah health office, told DPA news agency that all the people killed were civilians. He said a search operation was ongoing for more victims trapped in the rubble.
Hodeidah, a port city on the Red Sea, was captured along with vast majority of the country, including the capital Sanaa, by Houthi rebels and their allies in late 2014.
The conflict has killed nearly 7,000 people, mostly civilians, according to the United Nations which had been struggling to convince the warring parties to implement a ceasefire and revive a stalled political process. (T/P001/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)