United Nations chief condemns Saudi killing of Yemeni children

10 August, 2018, 15:46 | Author: Rachel Logan
  • Image      An ICRC-supported hospital received many dead and wounded Red Cross says

An airstrike blamed on the Saudi-led coalition fighting Shiite rebels in Yemen hit a bus in a busy market on Thursday in the country's north, killing at least 20 people, including children, Yemeni tribal leaders said.

It was not immediately clear whether the bus was the target of the air strike, but coalition spokesman Col Turki al-Malki said the attack was "a legitimate military action, conducted in conformity with worldwide humanitarian law".

"We call on the parties to take appropriate measures to protect civilians", she said.

Al Masirah TV aired dramatic images of wounded children, their clothes and schoolbags covered with blood as they lay on hospital stretchers.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. was "concerned" by reports of an attack resulting in civilian deaths.

Saudi Arabia backs Yemen's internationally recognized government and has been at war with the Houthis since March 2015.

Last week, the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes struck the gate of al-Thawra hospital and adjacent fish market in Yemen's Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, killing 52 civilians and wounding 102 others.

In July, a Badr 1 missile was sacked at Jizan Economic City, where Saudi Aramco is building a 400,000-barrel-per-day refinery.

In a message on Twitter, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Yemen said a hospital it supports had received dozens of casualties.

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"Our support to the coalition consists of aerial refueling and intelligence support to assist our partners in securing their borders from cross-border attacks from the Houthis".

The bus was said to have been stationary when the airstrike hit as the driver stopped for drink, with most of the children still inside.

But on social media, critics noted that other coverage of the air strike in the United States and Britain-which also supports the coalition-failed to acknowledge the countries' involvement in the war.

The coalition said Wednesday's projectile, fired toward the southwestern Saudi city of Jizan, was intercepted and destroyed but its fragments caused the casualties. "Spare the Yemeni people more death and misery", said Sylvia Ghaly of Save the Children.

Alarmed by the rise of a group they saw as an Iranian proxy, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and seven other Arab states intervened in an attempt to restore the government.

The Iran-aligned Houthis regularly fire into Saudi Arabia and have targeted its capital, Riyadh, with ballistic missiles.

The Red Cross Yemen branch noted that under worldwide humanitarian law, civilians should be protected during times of war. US mid air support.

It is with the stated aim of dislodging the Houthis, and restoring the previous government, that the Sunni coalition has waged a years-long airstrike campaign in the country with the support of the U.S. Since large-scale fighting erupted in 2015, the ensuing violence has left more than 10,000 people killed and the country's health infrastructure so badly battered, almost 18 million Yemenis lack reliable access to food.

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