Saudi Arabia Claims 'Operation Over,' But Bombs Keep Falling on Yemen
Shelling was reported in central and southern cities, and ground fighting has not let up
Just hours after declaring the conclusion of "Operation Decisive Storm," Saudi Arabia resumed air strikes against Yemen on Wednesday, signaling that the four-month bombing campaign and violence, which has already killed at least 944 people, is not yet over.
Media outlets report that a Saudi air strike hit the southern port city of Aden on Wednesday, in addition to bombings in the central city of Taiz, following heavy fighting.
Ground fighting between rebel combatants and forces aligned with Yemen's government continued in Aden, and clashes are also reported in Taiz, Huta, and Daleh, leaving an unknown number of people dead and wounded, according to AFP.
People in Yemen, who have taken to social media to vividly document the war's impact on their lives, confirm that the fighting and shelling has not let up.
Spoke to family in Aden :( War rages on there, worse than ever! Navy ships shelling advancing Houthis. Airstrikes in Taiz too! #Yemen
— Hisham Al-Omeisy (@omeisy) April 22, 2015
— Nezar Naji Ali (@Alawlaqi2014) April 22, 2015
The air strikes continue despite Saudi Arabia's dubious announcement on Tuesday that "the objectives of 'Operation Decisive Storm' have been achieved" and the operation would come to a close at midnight on Tuesday.
However, the statement, which was publicly embraced by U.S. and Iranian officials, left numerous unanswered questions.
In the same announcement, Saudi Arabia said it is embarking on the newly-branded "Operation Restoration of Hope," which would aim in part to combat "terrorism," but it is not immediately clear what this campaign entails or whether Saudi Arabia plans to halt the bombings for a sustained period of time.
The government declared that Saudi Arabia has the right to "counter any military moves by the Houthis or their allies, and deal with any threat against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or its neighbors."
Furthermore, it was not apparent whether Saudi Arabia's announcement on Tuesday signals relief for Yemenis impacted by the humanitarian crisis gripping the country, fueled by bombings and fighting, as well as a Saudi-led siege that has prevented humanitarian aid, food, and water from reaching people in need as supplies run dangerously low.
In a statement released following Saudi Arabia's announcement on Tuesday, Oxfam called for all parties to allow aid through. Oxfam's facility storing vital humanitarian aid in the northern governate of Saada was bombed by Saudi-led forces, despite the fact that the organization provided detailed information about the location of the facility to the coalition, which includes the United States, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, and Morocco.
"Oxfam, alongside our partners, stands ready to respond to these needs and plans to reach as many of these people as we can," said Grace Ommer, Oxfam's Country Director for Yemen. "To help us and others do that that we call on all parties to the conflict to re-open land, sea and air routes into the country immediately in order to allow essential food, fuel and humanitarian provisions to reach those in desperate need."
Meanwhile, an apparent overnight U.S. drone strike on the southern port city of Mukalla killed at least six people, witnesses said on Wednesday, according to AFP.