Yemeni warplanes attacked the northern district of Arhab today, pounding residential areas and killing at least 10 civilians, wounding another 17. The regime defended the attack, saying that armed tribesmen from the area were threatening nearby military bases. The majority of the slain were reported to be women and children, however.
The attacks sparked anger among the locals, and threatened to restart the civil war in the area around the capital, which had mostly calmed down since President Ali Abdullah Saleh fled the country in the wake of an assassination attempt.
The United Nations urged the Yemeni government to stop attacking civilian targets, adding that they should stop using live ammunition in attacks on crowds of protesters. Human rights investigators said that many of the civilian deaths in Yemen were the direct result of “excessive use of force” by the Saleh regime.
The strikes in Arhab suggest the regime could be growing more aggressive, perhaps believing that their three and a half month effort in Abyan, which ended in finally retaking “most” of that relatively minor province, could be repeated in the many other provinces across the nation that have fallen out of their control.