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Raids cripple Yemen's main airport, kill 15 rebel troops

SANAA, Yemen: Arab coalition warplanes targeting Iran-backed rebels bombed the runway at the Yemeni capital’s international airport and killed 15 pro-rebel troops elsewhere in Sanaa, military and aviation sources said Sunday.

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On the fourth night of raids against Shiite rebels and allied troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, Saudi-led strikes paralysed the airport in the rebel-controlled capital.

“This was the first time they hit the runway” since the campaign began, an aviation source said, a day after UN staff were evacuated from Sanaa. “The airport is completely out of service,” he said.

Witnesses reported hearing three loud explosions and seeing a large fire when the air facility was hit around midnight (2100 GMT Saturday).

Meanwhile, overnight air strikes hit the headquarters of the rebel republican guard at Al-Subaha base in Sanaa, killing 15 soldiers, a military official said.

A medic at a military hospital in the capital said it had received 12 bodies and 18 wounded soldiers after the raid.

Air strikes also targeted an airbase in rebel-held Hudaida, in western Yemen, witnesses said, as part of efforts to destroy air defence capabilities.

Other raids targeted a base of the First Artillery Brigade in Saada, the northern stronghold of the Huthi Shiite rebels. – AFP

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