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Dozens Of People Killed As Airstrike Hits Hotel Near Yemen's Capital

Yemenis stand at the site of an airstrike in the Arhab area, north of Sanaa, on Wednesday.

An airstrike apparently targeting Houthi rebels hit a hotel north of Yemen's capital, Sanaa, killing dozens of people.

Al-Masirah TV, a network run by the rebels who control the capital, said more than 40 people were killed in the strike in Arhab. But The Associated Press, citing Yemeni officials and witnesses, put the number of fatalities at about 60.

The AP writes:

"Witnesses say the two-floor hotel in Qaa al-Qaidhi neighborhood was completely toppled and bodies are still being retrieved from under the rubble. They also say another airstrike hit a checkpoint manned by the Houthis, a few [miles] from the hotel."

More than a dozen people were also wounded in the attack, according to Al-Jazeera.

The TV network placed blame for the attack on a Saudi-led coalition supporting the internationally recognized government of exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Reuters reported that "a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, which is fighting the Iranian-allied Houthis in Yemen, said the alliance was collecting information on the incident, without elaborating."

Hakim Almasmari, a journalist for the Yemen Post, tells Al-Jazeera that the strike was one of more than two dozen carried out in and around Saana overnight.

Yemen's civil war began in 2015 and has claimed more than 10,000 lives, according to the United Nations.

As The Two-Way has reported:

"The Shiite Houthi rebels are backed by Iran and fighting alongside military units loyal to Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. They took control of Yemen's capital, Sanaa, in late 2015 and seized large swaths of territory.

"The war escalated in March 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition began an air campaign aimed at pushing the rebels back into their northern stronghold. This coalition supports Yemen's internationally-recognized, exiled leader Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi."

Yemen has seen more than 5,000 airstrikes in the first six months of 2017, according to the Global Protection Cluster, which is led by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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