Yemen rebels ‘indiscriminately’ shelling civilians: HRW

yemen rebelsRebel forces in Yemen have fired shells and rockets indiscriminately into civilian neighbourhoods in the southern port city of Aden, Human Rights Watch alleged Thursday.

The watchdog said anti-government forces including Shiite Huthi rebels had acted “in violation of the laws of war” and called on them to “immediately cease indiscriminate attacks” on populated areas.

“Pro-Huthi forces have been raining mortar shells and rockets on to populated areas of Aden with no apparent regard for the civilians remaining there,” HRW’s senior emergencies researcher Ole Solvang said.

“These unlawful attacks take a terrible human toll and should stop immediately.”

The rights group said it had identified one rebel attack, in Aden on July 19, that killed several dozen civilians including children.

Huthi rebels and allied forces loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh have been battling pro-government forces in and around Aden for months.

Forces loyal to exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, backed by Saudi-led coalition warplanes, finally pushed the rebels out of most of the city earlier this month.

A nationwide pause in fighting this week proposed by the coalition failed to take hold and threatened the delivery of vital aid to people affected by the violence.

Four months of fighting have left almost 4,000 people dead, nearly half of them civilians, according to the United Nations.

“Huthi leaders should realise that they could face a war crimes trial for ordering or even just overseeing indiscriminate rocket attacks on civilian neighbourhoods,” Solvang said.

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