Saudi-led airstrikes kill 14 civilians in Yemen’s capital

FILE - In this Aug. 20, 2017 file photo, U.S. Gen. John Nicholson, top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, left, talks with Col. Khanullah Shuja, commander of the national mission brigade of the Afghan special operations force, and U.S. Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, at Camp Morehead in Afghanistan . The three officers attended the launch of the Afghan Army’s new special operations corps. (AP Photo/Lolita Baldor)

SANAA, Yemen — Airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition targeted Yemen’s capital early today, hitting at least three houses in Sanaa and killing at least 14 civilians, including women and children, residents and eyewitnesses said.

The attack was the latest by the coalition, which has been waging a relentless air campaign against Yemen’s Iran-backed Shiite rebels for the past two years in an effort to bring the internationally recognized government back to power.

Recently, the strikes in and around the capital, Sanaa, targeting army compounds and other locations of the rebels known as Houthis, have intensified. On Wednesday, coalition fighter jets struck a hotel in the town of Arhab, north of Sanaa, killing at least 41 people.

Today’s strikes hit the city’s southern neighborhood of Fag Attan. The death toll was expected to rise further as rescuers pulled more victims from under the rubble.

The escalation comes amid signs of fracturing between the two main components of the rebel alliance in Sanaa, the Houthis and loyalists of ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh — a standoff that has triggered fears of street violence.

The rebel alliance controls much of northern Yemen, including Sanaa.

The coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and including a string of other Arab states, is trying to restore the internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to power.

On Thursday, ex-president Saleh drew about 300,000 supporters for a rally.