More than 120 civilians were killed and over 150 wounded in Saudi Arabia-led airstrikes in the southern Yemeni province of Taiz on Friday evening, the Associated Press (AP) reported, citing unnamed security officials. A large number of women, children and elderly people are among those killed, the officials told the AP.
Ongoing clashes have prevented medical personnel from moving the injured to the provincial capital, one of the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the AP.
The Houthis, believed to be backed by Iran, are fighting local and tribal militias, Sunni Islamic militants and forces loyal to former Yemeni president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who is currently living in exile in Saudi Arabia.
Since the Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia started conducting airstrikes in March -- pitting it against Iran in a proxy war -- more than 3,600 people have been killed in Yemen. Additionally, another 17,300 people, including 4,000 civilians, have been wounded.
Earlier on Friday, clashes between the Houthi rebels and pro-government forces in the Marib province, located near the capital city of Sanaa, and Taiz killed 20 people. Violence also has been reported from near the strategic port city of Aden, which was recently recaptured by anti-Houthi fighters.
“We have documented several other attacks against residential areas, mosques and local markets by the various parties to the conflict. … Hostilities were further compounded by aerial bombardment by the Saudi-led coalition,” Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement released earlier this week.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also voiced concern on Friday over the “unprecedented” suffering of the civilians trapped in conflict zones in Yemen.
“The last two weeks have seen an intensification of fighting in the southern governorates of Aden and Taiz where it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to reach affected areas, to evacuate the dead and the wounded and to provide life-saving assistance," Antoine Grand, head of the ICRC delegation in Yemen, said in a statement.