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Arab coalition air strike kills 33 in Yemen

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Arab coalition warplanes struck a prison in the Yemeni city of Hodeidah, killing at least 33 people including inmates, a local official, relatives and medical sources in the Houthi-controlled Red Sea port said on Sunday.

The prison in the city`s al-Zaydiyah district was holding 84 (not 48) prisoners when it was struck three times late on Saturday, the sources said.

The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Houthi rebels since March 2015 to try to restore to office internationally-recognised President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was sidelined from power by the Iranian-allied group in late 2014.

One of the strikes directly targeted the building, the witness added, bringing it down over the heads of the prisoners, while two others hit the gate of the complex and nearby administration buildings.

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The air attack was one of the deadliest among thousands of bombings which have largely failed to dislodge the Houthis from the capital Sanaa but have repeatedly hit schools, markets, hospitals and homes, killing many civilians.

Rights groups have said the raids may amount to war crimes, but an investigative body set up by the coalition largely defended its methods in an August report which concluded that Houthi rebels regularly deploy to civilian sites.

The Houthis deny this, and a top official in the movement criticized the United Nations and the Saudis’ key ally and arms supplier, the United States, for not doing enough to hold the kingdom accountable for its air strikes.

“We condemn the position of the international community and the U.N. for providing cover for the crimes of Saudi Arabia against Yemenis, and they are subject to the wishes of America,” Saleh al-Samad said in a statement late on Saturday.

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