Friendly Fire: Saudi Airstrike Kills Seven Allied Fighters in Central Yemen

Fighters Were Planning to Attack Shi'ite Houthis

As pro-Saudi fighters hyped their plan to attack the Yemeni capital of Sanaa in the days to come, a planned offensive stalled today when Saudi warplanes accidentally bombed them, killing seven of their own allies in the latest friendly fire incident.

This is the second significant friendly fire incident this month, with an airstrike in Zinjibar earlier this month killing at least 20 pro-Saudi fighters, stalling their offensive against that city. Zinjibar has since been taken over by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The fighters today were rallying in Maarib Province, which has been the latest target as Saudi forces are trying several routes through central Yemen to connect their southern city of Aden to Sanaa, which is still held by the Shi’ite Houthis.

Taiz was the most direct route, and that offensive failed, leaving the city a humanitarian disaster. Maarib is a less direct route, but analysts have said that it could lead to a fast rush to Sanaa through the flat, mostly empty desert area leading to Sanaa.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of