Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city, has become the latest battleground in an increasingly deadly and complicated conflict. The well-known activists, who campaign for more autonomy for the south, said al-Qaida and other sleeper cells were buying and storing weapons from that market.
Also on Friday, the official news agency in Saudi Arabia said two pilots in the Saudi-led coalition were killed when their Apache helicopter came down on the border with Yemen on Friday.
Washington, meanwhile, has kept up its drone attacks targeting the militants, including one in June in the city of Mukalla that killed the group’s top leader.
At the same time, Yemen’s branch of Al Qaeda and fighters loyal to the militant group Islamic State have been drawing strength from chaotic conditions as fighting between Houthis and Hadi loyalists leave a power vacuum in many areas.
Seventeen of those who lost their lives in air strikes late on Thursday were members of the same family, MSF said.
The attacks hit five provinces controlled by the Houthis and the military airport in Sanaa amid rapid advances by Arab-backed Yemeni troops.
Only seven of the 20 hospitals in Taiz are reportedly still functioning. According to anti-Houthi forces the shelling stopped with the airstrikes.
The civil war has killed more than 4,300 people and left diplomats and air groups appealing for a cease-fire to spare civilians and alleviate a mounting humanitarian disaster.
The subsequent airstrikes killed 35 people and demolished five houses in the eastern neighborhood of Sala, from where the rebels launched their attacks.
The report Yemen: Childhood Under Threat said the number of children recruited or used in the conflict had more than doubled to 377 so far in 2015 from 156 in 2014. It noted around eight children have been killed or wounded in the war every day.
The conflict in the country between pro-government forces and rebels escalated in March when Saudi Arabia and 10 of its regional allies started bombing Yemen, aided by United States’ logistical and intelligence support. Iran supports the Houthis politically but denies arming them.
Since pro-government forces recaptured the city from Shiite Huthi rebels last month, several planes carrying humanitarian aid have landed at Aden’s repaired worldwide airport, which had been the scene of heavy clashes. Disease and hunger continues to spread across the country.
Ertharin Cousin, head of the U.N.’s World Food Program, said that while some food aid is flowing in, fighting around major ports is stalling deliveries, while reaching the country’s interior is proving hard and donor funding still is falling short.
“Ten of the 22 governorates in Yemen in July were already at emergency levels”.