(Adds Houthi leader's comments)
By Mohammed Ghobari
SANAA Oct 9 Thousands of Yemenis, many of them
armed, gathered at the United Nations headquarters in Yemen's
capital Sanaa on Sunday calling for an international
investigation into an air strike on a wake this weekend that was
widely blamed on Saudi-led forces.
The attack - that killed at least 140 people on Saturday -
hit a hall where rows of the city's notables had gathered for
the wake of the interior minister's father.
The Saudi-led coalition has denied any role in the incident,
believed to be one of the deadliest strikes in the 18-month-old
war in which at least 10,000 people have been killed.
The attack has been condemned by the U.N., the European
Union, the United States and the International Federation of the
Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies which said on Sunday one of
their staff was among those killed.
Pictures showed the inside of the once-ornate hall reduced
to a pile of twisted metal and rubble after two huge explosions.
Radios and mosque loudspeakers throughout the city blared
mourning verses as demonstrators crowded the streets around the
U.N. headquarters, many waving their rifles in the air.
Nada, a high school student living near the site said body
parts propelled by the explosion flew into her house.
"What happened was an unprecedented crime ... The sight of
it was terrifying and will never leave my mind," she said.
One Sanaa resident, Ahmed Abu Taleb, described his frantic
search for a relative.
"We were searching in the hall and in hospitals from the
afternoon until dawn today, but after all our anguish we learned
that he was among the dead."
On Sunday, former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh called
for more attacks at the Saudi border. He holds sway in the
military units fighting alongside Houthi rebels who pushed
Yemen's internationally recognised government into exile in
The head of the Houthi movement called for revenge and for
tribal leaders to mobilise.
"I urge everyone to join the front lines for revenge. With
God as a witness you are responsible for defending your people,"
said Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, comparing Yemen's 19-month-old civil
war to the seventh century Battle of Karbala that fuelled the
split between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims.
Saudi Arabia has launched thousands of air strikes against
the Shi'ite Houthis, who the kingdom and its Gulf Arab allies
fear are a proxy for their archenemy Iran.
In another sign that the attack may escalate already raging
regional tensions, Iran's main ally in the Arab world
commiserated with the Houthis and condemned Saudi Arabia.
"I say to (Yemen's) people: you will ultimately triumph,"
the leader of the armed Lebanese group, Hezbollah, Hassan
Nasrallah, said on Saturday.
"Your noble revolutionary blood will triumph over the sword
of those bloodthirsty savages."
(Additional reporting by Ali Abdelatti; Writing by Noah
Browning; Editing by Louise Ireland)