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Saudi Air Defense Intercepts Rocket Fired From Yemen

  • Associated Press

FILE - Children linger near their home in a poor neighborhood of Yemen's capital, Sanaa, Dec. 4, 2015. The NGO Human Rights Watch has condemned unlawful airstrikes that kill civilians.

FILE - Children linger near their home in a poor neighborhood of Yemen's capital, Sanaa, Dec. 4, 2015. The NGO Human Rights Watch has condemned unlawful airstrikes that kill civilians.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen says Saudi air defense units have intercepted a rocket fired from inside Yemen in the southwest border city of Jazan.

A statement by the coalition said that the rocket, fired early Monday, did not cause injuries or material damage and that the Saudi Air Force reacted immediately and destroyed the launch pad inside Yemen.

In the Yemen conflict, the internationally recognized government is backed by a Saudi-led, U.S.-supported coalition. The rebels, known as Houthis, are allied with a former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh. Local affiliates of al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have exploited the chaos to grab land and exercise influence.

Cross-border shelling has killed Saudi border guards and soldiers amid the campaign.

Also on Monday, Human Rights Watch reported that the Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes in residential areas in the capital Sanaa killed 60 civilians in September and October.

"How many civilians will die in unlawful airstrikes in Yemen before the coalition and its U.S. ally investigate what went wrong and who is responsible?'' asked Joe Stork, the group's deputy Middle East director. "Their disregard for the safety of civilians is appalling.''

"Human Rights Watch found no evidence of any military target in an airstrike on the Old City and on al-Asbahi neighborhood in September,'' the group said, adding that homes in several other areas were hit "200 meters or more from possible military objectives.''

The group said Houthi forces also put civilians at risk in at least two of the attacks in densely populated neighborhoods.

According to U.N. figures, the war in Yemen has killed at least 5,884 people since March, when fighting escalated after the Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes targeting the rebels.

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