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Houthi rebel fire kills 9, including journalist, in Yemen’s Taiz

ADEN, Yemen Jan 22, 2018 (AFP) – Houthi rebel rocket fire killed nine people, including a journalist and a child, in Yemen’s southwest province of Taiz on Monday, a government official said.

A barrage of six rockets rained down during the opening of a new security facility in the town of Nashma, killing four soldiers and five civilians, the official told AFP.

The deputy interior minister of Yemen’s internationally-recognised government, as well as dozens of local residents, were in attendance, he said.

Yemen’s Belqees TV confirmed the killing of its cameraman Mohammed al-Qudsi, in a statement on its website, blaming “Houthi shelling.”

Taiz, the provincial capital of the same name, is held by forces loyal to the government. But much of its surroundings is in the hands of the Iran-backed insurgents and it has been a key battleground in the war.

More than 9,200 people have been killed in Yemen since March 2015, when a Saudi-led coalition intervened with the aim of pushing the Houthis from Sana’a and restoring the government to power.

The Houthis, however, have only hardened their grip on the capital after gunning down their former ally, ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Almost another 2,200 Yemenis have died of cholera and 53 of diphtheria amid deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions, the World Health Organisation says.

The Saudi-led coalition on Monday announced $1.5 billion in new humanitarian aid for Yemen, after the United Nations issued what it called a record appeal for assistance for the war-ravaged country.

The coalition also said it would also “increase the capacities of Yemeni ports to receive humanitarian” imports, as it faces mounting criticism for imposing a crippling blockade on the country.

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