Rocket shelling kills 14 civilians in Yemen’s Taiz

Sanaa, Oct 21 (IANS) Rocket shelling allegedly by the Shiite Houthi group killed at least 14 civilians in Yemen’s southern province of Taiz and wounded 70 others on Wednesday, medics and officials said.

Shiite Houthi fighters, backed by forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, fired Katyusha rockets on crowded residential neighbourhoods in the country’s third largest city of Taiz, a local official told Xinhua.

Activists and witnesses said over 50 rockets hit residential neighbourhoods and markets, destroying houses and killing many people. They posted online pictures of the victims lying in the streets.

Medical sources said 14 people were killed and many of the wounded were in critical condition.

The attacks cast a shadow over the upcoming peace talks held by the United Nations, which aimed at ending to the current civil war between the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and the Shiite Houthi group supported by Iran.

Many political observers are not optimistic about the talks as they said the warring parties are not ready to cease fire.

This is the third time that the United Nations has attempted to broker peace talks between in Yemen. The two warring sides attended talks held in Geneva in June, which collapsed as they refused to meet each other in one room.

The second round of talks did not even start last month as the Yemeni government dropped out before it was to be held in Oman, as the two sides set preconditions.

The Houthi group and its allies confirmed to the UN special envoy in Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, that they will be committed to UN Security Council Resolution 2216, which calls for the withdrawal of Houthi forces from territories they have captured and for them to disarm.

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