A string of explosions rocked the Yemeni capital of Sanaa overnight Saturday as Saudi-led coalition forces intensified air strikes against Houthi targets.
Several residents in Sanaa said they saw fire rising from four Houthi-controlled military camps and missile depots located northeast of Sanaa after the raids.
The bombings were so powerful as they could be heard far away in downtown Sanaa, where buildings trembled as if jolted by an earthquake.
Security officials said the warplanes fired at least 16 missiles against those military sites overnight. There was no immediate report of casualties.
“I was at the mosque praying at the sunset. Suddenly we felt the building shaking backward and forward like in a huge earthquake, and windows suddenly opened,” said Ahmed al-Kawkabani, an engineer and resident at Sawan neighborhood, east of Sanaa.
“I felt air pressure on my ears as all the people were running out to the roof to check nearby military camps and houses … and we saw huge fires rising from military camps and arms depots northeast of Sanaa,” he said.
After the air strikes started in the afternoon, people returned to their houses to stay with families.
“I was at the grocery, the bombings shook the ground as if it had hit the grocery. I left everything behind and ran to see my wife and children. I was so scared,” said Yahya Motahar, a Taxi driver living in al-Hasaba in downtown Sanaa.
Many people said it was the “worst night” since the Saudi-led coalition began air strikes 10 days ago.
“I took my wife and children to hide in the basement as the house foundations were shaking and windows shattered,” recalled Mohammed al-Alaee, a journalist and resident in the 60 Street west of Sanaa.
Days of air strikes have forced thousands of people to flee the capital, which now faces massive blackout and severe shortages in gas, petrol, medicine and wheat.
On Friday night, nine people from one family, including six children, were killed and five others wounded in an air raid on a village at Bani Matar district on the western outskirts of Sanaa, witnesses said.
It was the fourth air strike that targeted civilians by mistake. On Tuesday an air raid on a dairy factory in Yemen’s western port city of al-Hodyada killed at least 37 workers and wounded dozens of others.
The death toll in the air campaign, which started on March 26, has surpassed 130 while more than 500 people have been wounded, according to local authorities.
The Saudi-led coalition said the multinational action was to protect the legitimacy of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who has fled after weeks of house arrest by Houthi rebels, and force the Houthis to retreat from cities they have seized since September 2014.
The Saudi military said at a daily press conference held in Riyadh that the coalition forces will not stop operations in Yemen despite reports of death of civilians.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has called for a humanitarian pause to bring in medical help and humanitarian aid for the Yemeni people.
In a statement obtained by Xinhua, the ICRC said it is alarmed by the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen, and suggested that all air, land and sea routes be opened without delay for at least 24 hours to enable help to reach the stranded people.
“Our relief supplies and surgical personnel must be allowed to enter the country and safely reach the worst-affected places to provide help. Otherwise, put starkly, many more people will die. For the wounded, their chances of survival depend on action within hours, not days,” it added. Enditem