Dozens killed, including children on a bus, in Yemen air strikes

10 August, 2018, 11:28 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • Yemen is in the grip of a brutal civil war

Dozens of children, many under the age of 10, have been killed in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike that hit a school bus in northern Yemen on Thursday.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said the children were on a field trip when their bus was struck at a market in Dahyan, in the northern province of Saada.

Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV reported that 47 people were killed and 77 wounded, and broadcast graphic pictures showing the bodies of several young children, some of them wearing school uniform.

An airstrike in the north reportedly killed at least 50, more than half of them children.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been leading a military campaign in support of the internationally recognised government in Yemen and against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The missile was sacked from Amran province in northern Yemen on Wednesday night, the coalition said in a statement published by the Saudi Press Agency.

Houthi militants responsible for firing ballistic missiles and targeting civilians "will be held accountable", said the Saudi statement.

Fragments from the Houthi missile launched at Jizan Industrial City killed one Yemeni civilian and wounded 11, Saudi state media said earlier on Thursday.

The military alliance says it does not target civilians and has set up an investigation committee into alleged mass casualty air strikes which have mostly cleared the coalition of any blame.

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Coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki told AFP that claims by aid organisations that children were inside the bus were "misleading", adding that the bus carried "Huthi combatants". Video footage, which CBS News can't independently verify, appear to show the devastating aftermath.

He accused the rebels of using children as "tools and covers for their terrorist acts".

The statement, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, also said the missile was launched "deliberately to target residential and populated areas".

Speaking by phone to the US-based news outlet, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen's government, Col Turki Al Maliki, insisted Thursday's attack carried out in Saada is a "legitimate military action" and is "in accordance with global humanitarian law and customs".

Col. Al-Maliki stressed: "The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition will take all deterrent measures against such barbaric, frivolous launches in conformity with the global humanitarian law, and those who support these terrorist crimes will be held accountable for their actions".

"We call on the Saudi-led coalition to conduct.an investigation", Nauert said. However, a recent review of airstrikes by the United Nations found that "measures taken by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in its targeting process to minimize child casualties, if any, remain largely ineffective". But the coalition denied carrying out any attacks in the city, saying it follows a "strict and transparent approach based on the rules global law".

Yemen's war has left almost 10,000 people dead since 2015 and unleashed what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The Houthis have fired a number of ballistic missiles at the Saudi capital, Riyadh, and other cities.

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