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Saudi-Led Coalition Targets Rebel Sites in Yemeni Capital


Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, hold up their weapons as they attend a protest against Saudi-led airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, April 10, 2015.

Saudi-led coalition airstrikes hit Yemen on Friday for a 16th consecutive day, targeting weapons-storage sites used by Shi'ite Houthi rebels in the capital, Sana'a.

Witnesses say the strikes hit the Defense Ministry and other facilities, including a military camp believed to be controlled by rebel forces loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The rebels control Sana'a and are seeking to capture Yemen's main southern city, Aden, as they battle forces supporting the country's internationally backed president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who recently fled Yemen.

The Battle for Yemen
The Battle for Yemen

A Pentagon spokesman said on Friday that Aden is "contested" but there is no question the Houthis control a large portion of the city.

Hours earlier, Aden was battered by the heaviest night of Saudi-led aistrikes targeting Shi'ite rebels, who are believed to be backed by Iran.

Meanwhile, both the Red Cross and UNICEF made their first shipments of emergency medical aid to Yemen, where aid groups have warned of a dire humanitarian situation.

A cargo plane arrived Friday in Sana'a, carrying more than 16 tons of medical supplies, according to a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The United Nations says more airlifts are planned as aid groups move to rush aid to the Gulf state.

In another development Friday, Doctors Without Borders said it has treated more than 800 war-wounded people across Yemen since March 19. It said the majority of those people have received treatment in Aden.

Separately, the parliament of Pakistan -- a predominantly Sunni state that borders Iran -- voted Friday to not join the coalition. Lawmakers instead unanimously backed a resolution urging a negotiated end to the violence.

The fighting has created a humanitarian crisis with more than 600 people killed and 100,000 forced to flee their homes. There also is a reported shortage of medical and other basic supplies in some areas.

The airstrikes so far have failed to stop the Houthi rebel advance across the country.