Saudi attack rages in Yemen, civilians 'die'
Houthi fighters in Yemen said Tuesday Saudi warplanes had launched several airstrikes on residential areas in northern parts of the country, killing at least 2 civilians and leaving several others wounded.

According to a statement released by the Houthi leader's office, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, more than 410 missiles were launched overnight into civilian areas.

The warplanes targeted a market in northern Sa'ada province and destroyed several shops and residential homes in Al-Talah.

Several air raids were launched into al-Maran region in Sa'ada, while a number of villages in Amran province were targeted.

The fighters, however, said they repelled several attacks by Saudi forces on Jebel al-Ramih early Tuesday morning.

They said Saudi forces had withdrawn from the area by noon. They also claimed they had exploded a hummer vehicle belonging to the Saudi military.

Saudi Arabia joined the Yemeni government's campaign against the Houthi fighters in November 2009. The fighters accuse Riyadh of targeting civilian areas far from the Saudi-Yemeni border.

The attacks have so far killed scores of civilians and displaced thousands of others.

The Yemeni government claims the fighters are seeking to revive an imamate that was toppled in 1962. The fighters, however, say they demand an end to government's social, economic and political "discrimination" against Shias as well as Saudi-backed attempts to spread Wahabism -- a sect that preaches controversial and violent actions -- in the northern areas.

According to the Houthis, alongside the Saudi attacks on Tuesday, Yemeni warplanes launched at least 18 air strikes on populated areas of Al-Swf, Al-Salam, Al-Shanan and Damaj in the beleaguered north.

Shia fighters said they inflicted heavy losses on Yemeni forces as they were planning to attack Harf Sufyan in Amran province. They also claimed they had exploded five tanks and left several Yemeni forces killed in the region.

They said joint Saudi-Yemeni aerial and ground attacks continue late Tuesday.

Posted by: Fred 2010-01-06